She came like a dog, begging Jesus for a morsel of mercy. She broke all the rules. This woman. This Gentile. But she was desperate. Her daughter was “suffering terribly from demon-possession” and she knew Jesus could help. When he seemingly ignored her, she persisted until finally he pronounced her daughter healed.
What moved Jesus to action? Was it the woman’s pure audacity? An emotional ploy that elicited his sympathy? Scripture tells us it was her faith. Mountain-moving, rule-breaking, life-giving faith.
I was walking the other day when I noticed a sign for a building contractor. It read Faith Construction and Remodeling. It got me thinking about how our faith ought always to be “under construction.” Faith needs to grow, not be held captive in a tidy theological box. It should always be expanding, deepening, and sending out shoots. It develops by undergoing adjustments and alterations. Like clothes that have grown too small, faith wants us to feel uncomfortable until we find bigger sizes. The blows in life we inevitably encounter are intended to serve that very purpose….to enlarge us, not demolish us.
Sometimes we step back from faith. We have believed for things that didn’t materialize. And we have never fully recouped. But it’s wrong to think it’s safer to maintain a distance, to not risk jeopardizing what little faith we think we have left. A close friend of mine died last year. Even as her body grew weaker and weaker, I had faith that she would recover right up to the end. And although I was deeply distressed at her death, I don’t regret one second of my prayers for her. I realized that I just saw in part. My faith in God was not misplaced… just in need of some reconstruction.
Wouldn’t you love to hear the Lord say to you, “Woman [or man] you have great faith”? The Canaanite woman’s faith was great because it was unusual. I bet there are situations in your life and mine that call for unusual faith. So let’s put on our hard hats and let our faith be a part of ongoing construction.