Monday, June 12, 2023

A Passionate Faith

 Monday, June 12, 2023 Some material taken from "Is it Time to Pivot?" by Dr. Craig Christina

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 15:21-28

There are many meanings to the word Pivot. Websters Dictionary defines pivot as "to turn on or as if on a pivot." It also defines is as "to adapt or improve by adjusting or modifying something (such as a product, service, or strategy)." Both of these definitions are important to know in the face of change. It takes great faith to pivot when it is time to pivot. To have great faith, one thing we need is to have a passionate faith.


A Passionate Faith

The scripture above tells a story of a time when Jesus exampled the act of pivoting for us. A Canaanite woman came to Jesus and asked for her daughter to be healed as she was oppressed by a demon. Jesus ignored her but the woman kept crying after the disciples for help. They were irritated and asked Jesus if He would just deal with her so she would go away, but Jesus told them that He was busy doing what He was sent to do - taking care of the lost Jews. But she doesn’t get discouraged at His ignoring her. She drops to her knees before Him in desperation, asking again for Him to help her.


Some of Jesus’ reactions and responses here seem so unlike the Jesus we know and have been told about our whole lives. For Him to ignore her, someone who is seeking His help, seems so unlike Him. The Jesus we know eats with sinners and came to seek and save the lost, the lowly, the outcasts, even the enemies. The fact that she is a Canaanite woman is even more dramatic since that makes her a descendant of Israel’s ancient enemies and is coming to the Jewish Messiah for help. Even in this situation we cannot imagine Jesus doing anything other than treating her with love, gentleness, and care. Even though she did not get the answer she hoped for immediately, she continued passionately, because she knew who she was talking to. She probably knew that He had healed gentiles before and because of those testimonies she believed He was the Messiah and the only possibility to heal her daughter. Her passionate faith was rewarded and was an example of all who saw that day that passionate faith pays off. Jesus was confirmed even further as Messiah, a Messiah for all - Jews and Gentiles alike - and God was glorified. 


Sometimes we may call out to Him for help and get no response. It can feel a lot like what this passage said Jesus did with this woman at first – ignoring us. No answer to us is sometimes twisted into “He doesn’t care, He isn’t really there, I’m not worthy of His help, or I deserve this” in our minds if we let it. But remembering God’s nature, character and promises is so important. He is trustworthy. We need to also remember that silence can mean many things – It is not right in God’s timing, or He may be trying to help us learn something. Sometimes He just wants us to focus on Him, sit with Him, trust Him. Waiting in silence is often a time to stretch and strengthen our faith, and to purify and refine our faith. Sometimes He may be silence, not to discourage us, but to encourage us to be more passionate in our faith. Silence, even for what seems like an eternity, is not a "no" to our requests. God has a plan and He does pivot but He wants the very best for us in the very best time - His time. We might now get the exact answer we want - His ways are not our ways - but we can trust Him for the very best answer. 


We can continue to call out to Him because we know His character. We know His attributes. We know He loves and cares and sees all and hears all. We trust Him to be true to His nature, even when we get silence in return for the tenth time. We can stay passionate in our faith waiting for His answer in His time. 

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