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.” (Matthew 15:24-28 ESV)
Even the dogs.
I think about the woman in this story a lot. How, rather than taking what Jesus said as an insult and cowering in self-pity, she prevails in faith. She knows that what she’s asking of him (to rid her daughter of a demon), though a big deal to her, is a mere crumb to Christ. His power is so great that to do what she desires is a small task.
There are two striking applications here.
Firstly, may I be found as humble as this woman. She knows her place before a holy God. She knows she has nothing to offer him—not even a lineage to cling to. She’s laid bare before him in her unworthiness.
And yet, she bows before him and brings her request, knowing she’s undeserving, knowing he doesn’t owe her anything, but also knowing he is a mighty and kind God. She doesn’t give up. She knows Jesus is her and her daughter’s only hope. And Jesus blesses her for it.
I want to remember that when I go before my Father in prayer, I’m praying to a mighty and kind God. That anything I ask of him is but a crumb in comparison to his power and ability to bring it about. This God, who with a word spoke everything into existence, can do far above what we ask him. When you beg for mercy from temptation, when you ask him to save your family member, when you ask him to work in your heart to love others more, when you tell him of your sorrow and ask for comfort, he can work in powerful ways! Do you believe it?
This is where humility and boldness collide. When we boldly approach the throne of God, asking great things of him with a heart surrendered to his will.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)