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northward, this poor girl’s mother heard   who do not trust Him, and He will on oth-
        that the Healer was on their borders. Hav-  er occasions deliberately make obstacles to
        ing sought out Jesus, she came, calling   faith in those who do trust Him. Our Lord
        out persistently for His mercy. She took   will do everything possible to gain our
        the only sane approach to her crisis and   faith, and it is faith that saves. But He will
        became an outstanding example to all   also seek to enlarge what faith we have.
        who care for children: bring their need to   The tolerance for testing is different from
        Him. She begged for the deliverance of   person to person. Some have confidence
        her daughter. She was prepared to share   in God to the extent that they can say, like
        in the shame of her daughter’s condition   Job, “Though He slay me, I will hope in
        and did not cut her off to the dominion of   Him” (Job 13:15). Others are not willing
        darkness. We cannot be sure what reaction   to go that far. These will still be received
        she expected from Christ, but we who   into the kingdom through grace but will
        know Him better are bound to be shocked   lack in the abundance of that welcome
        at the way He treated her.            since they are stunted in growth.
          Not only did Jesus ignore her cry for   What Jesus says next seems to be in-
        help, but when pressed by the disciples   sensitive and pejorative. He calls her a
        to send her away, He seemed to indicate   Gentile dog! It would not be proper to take
        that her plight was not within the scope   what belongs to the children of Israel and
        of His mission. Knowing the wideness   throw it down to her, begging as she was
        of His love, we must not misunderstand   at His feet. True, He uses the word for a
        what Christ was doing. Firstly, He knew   little dog, one that might be tolerated in a
        the strength of her faith, and while He   house, but that hardly blunts the force of
        was going to put it under immense strain,   His words. With this reply we see great
        He would not break it. He could test this   faith become greater still. “What You say
        woman’s faith in ways that He could not   is true Lord, I am a little dog, hoping that
        then test His disciples. Her faith was   a discarded scrap of Your mercy will fall
        greater than theirs. Secondly, she had truly   from Your table!” Our narrator, Matthew,
        called Him the Son of David, but she had   would agree with her that the children
        no right to appeal to Him on those terms.   seemed to have little appetite for the
        Hence, He publicly declared that David’s   bread that Christ had spread for them
        Son was sent only to the lost sheep of the   on His table. They had recently eaten the
        House of Israel.                      miraculous loaves at the lake, but their
          But that did not deter her. She came   leaders were more concerned with the
        and did what few in Israel would do: she   washing of hands than the Bread of Life.
        worshipped at His feet. Here we discover   Suddenly, the stern countenance of Christ
        another characteristic of great faith: it is   melted into a smile with her reply. He had
        found in submission at the feet of Christ.   always loved her and delighted in the faith
        She asks for help again, and again she is   He had seen in her. His response, in the
        rebutted. We may now think that we have   end, was swift, her daughter being im-
        stumbled upon a paradox. The One in   mediately delivered by His power. When
        whom there is no respect of persons will   we at last meet our Master, will we hear
        on occasions move heaven and earth to   those welcome words, “O child, your faith
        kindle the least glimmer of faith in those   is great”?

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