A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” (Matt. 15:23)
Jesus did not answer a word……..
Does this make you feel a bit disheartened like it made me feel when I read it? Why did Jesus allow this woman, who was so desperate for healing for her daughter, to experience silence from Him? Didn’t He care that her daughter had a great need? Wasn’t Jesus being insensitive to not answer her and to ignore her passionate plea for help? I am sure that this persistent mom was getting much attention from everyone else who was observing. I wish I knew everything that He was thinking of and what He was waiting on in this situation. I know that He truly did care for her and a few verses later we see how this incident concludes.
So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
We can see that it was Jesus desire to heal and He did it…in His perfect time! Was He waiting until the woman kept crying out even louder and in this way was attracting more people to see His miraculous healing? Did she realize in a greater way how much her family needed His touch and they were totally dependent on Him? Was her faith not strong enough the first time she begged Him? I don’t know the answers to all of these questions but what I DO know is that He cared deeply for this woman and her daughter and it wasn’t His desire or plan for them to continue to suffer in this way. He also waited to answer her cry until the devastating diagnosis had completed the work that He was wanting to do in their hearts, as well.
Let me ask you this question? Are you a child of God who is also experiencing a great crushing sorrow or a bitter disappointment in your life right now? Maybe you have received “cutting” words from family members or a friend and feel rejected because of it. It may be a blow from someone who you least expected it from. Maybe you have been desperately trying to get God’s attention and He appears not to be hearing you. Are you deeply longing to hear Jesus’ voice saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid”? (Matt. 14:27) Yet what you hear is complete and heart breaking silence. Of course, the enemy of your soul will tell you when this happens that God doesn’t care or even love you. How could a loving God allow this misery and then IGNORE you when you cry out to Him? Why waste your time trying to please or serve someone who treats you like this!
Oh, how God’s tender and compassionate heart must so often ache as He listens to our sad and complaining cries for relief from the trials we face! We are so weak and impatient that it must grieve Him so many times. We are tear-blinded and shortsighted and aren’t able to clearly see that it is for our own good that He doesn’t answer at all or that He answers in a way that we believe is less than the best. Do you have enough faith to believe that the silence of Jesus is just as eloquent as His words? The silence may be a sign of His approval instead of His disapproval and may be His way of providing a deeper blessing for you.
I think about the powerful message that is contained in the song that we sing during most of our services. It is entitled, “Blessings” and it beautifully portrays this concept about the trials we face as being “blessings in disguise.” If you haven’t heard this song, I would encourage you to listen to it and allow it to strengthen your faith. It is on our latest CD entitled, “Knowing What I Know About Heaven.”
In Psalms 43:5, the psalmist says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I will yet praise Him…” Are we filled with enough faith, have enough knowledge of who God is, and have experienced enough of His love to be able to praise Him for His moments of silence to us?
I would like to share the story of how one Christian woman dreamed that she saw three different women in prayer.
When they were all three knelt in prayer, Jesus drew near to them. As he approached the first one, He bent over her with tenderness and grace. He smiled with radiant love and spoke to her in tones of sweet and pure music. After He left her side, He came to the next one but only placed His hand upon her bowed head and gave her one look of loving approval. He then passed the third woman almost abruptly and without even stopping for a glance or a word with her.
The woman that was having the dream said to herself, “How deeply that He must love the first woman! The second woman obviously gained His approval but didn’t experience the special demonstrations of love that He gave the first one. But, oh my! The third woman must have grieved Him so deeply, because He didn’t even give her as much as a passing look.”
She wondered what the third woman must have done to have been treated so differently. As she tried to account for the actions of her Lord, He came to her and stood beside her. He lovingly said to her, “Oh, how wrongly you have interpreted Me! The first kneeling woman needs the full measure of My tenderness and care to keep her feet on My narrow way. She needs My love, thoughts and My help for every moment of the day. Without My help she would continue to stumble into failure.
“The second woman has a stronger faith and deeper love than the first one and I can count on her to trust Me no matter how things may go or whatever people may do. The third woman, however, whom I seemed not to notice, and even neglect, has faith and love of the purest quality. You see, I am training her through quick and drastic ways for the highest and holiest service.
She has learned to love Me so intimately and trust Me so completely that she no longer depends on My voice, loving glances, or even other outward signs to know of My approval. She isn’t dismayed or discouraged by any circumstance that I arrange for her to encounter. She trusts Me even when it goes against common sense or reason and when every subtle instinct of her natural heart would want to rebel. She knows that I am preparing her for eternity and realizes that the understanding of what I am doing will come later. My love is silent because I love beyond the power of words to express it and beyond the understanding of the human heart.”
What a powerful story!
In conclusion of this blog, I would like to share a personal experience that happened to me last night. As many of you already know, our oldest child, Austin (16 yrs.) was very suddenly taken from us in October 2010. It has been a painful journey but in the midst of it, God’s grace has been so profound and special to each of us. Last night, I had this wonderful dream that Austin was still alive and here with us. He was doing great physically and I felt so complete and indescribably happy to be able to hug him and to hear his laughter again. I woke up and reality settled in around me like an ugly, cold and destructive tumor. I cried and asked God, “Why did he have to die? Why can’t Austin still be here with us? Why do we need to settle for only the good memories that we have left?” I had to come back to the fact that God is still sovereign and He is good…regardless! He didn’t instantly fill me with words of affirmation and a peace that took all of my pain away. I had to choose to believe that His silence is for my sake. He desires for me to learn to love and trust Him with a pure and spontaneous response without the prompting of anything external.
What kind of individual are you? Do You praise Him every time that He withdraws His gifts from you? Have you learned to accept the mystery of His silence?
Committed to Him,
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