Persistent Faith

Mark 7:24-30 (ESV) And from there {Jesus} arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”     But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s  crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Sometimes it seems that God is far off. We pour our hearts out to Him in prayer and get no reply. Then, sometimes, as in our Gospel reading above, the answer we receive is almost worse than no answer at all.

What are we to do in these times when faith is tested – when God is silent or His answer is “no”? Do we give up on Jesus or cling to Him all the more? Do we walk away from the faith, or do we persist in trust and hope?

Scripture assures us that God hears every prayer. He loves and cares for all people. He is always gracious, always good. Jesus is the proof of that. In His goodness and love, Jesus suffered and died for sinners such as us, and by His resurrection, opens the way to eternal life.

So even when His answer is “no,” we still hold fast to Jesus. Like the Syrophoenician woman, we do not give up, but continue to persevere and persist in faith. When our faith is challenged, it is an opportunity to trust in God’s Word and promises all the more. And through the testing, we may find that His “no” is not the end of our faith, but only the beginning.