Oh, what a word of comfort for the faithful today! Do not despair or grow fearful if you have been praying about a particular need and have not yet received an answer to your prayers. The Lord has determined the perfect time to bestow your requested blessing upon you.
Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. (Matthew 15:21-28 NASB, emphasis added.)
How strange it seems on the surface; Jesus acknowledged that this Canaanite woman had great faith, yet He did not answer her at first, not even with a single word! The woman cried out to our Lord from the depths of her heart. She addressed Jesus in humility and with the honored titles of Lord and Son of David. Her situation was desperate, as her daughter was cruelly demon-possessed. And, to be sure, desperation always precedes deliverance. Yet often that deliverance does not come in the timing or way we expect.
Great faith does not always bring quick answers. God knows exactly what we need and the exact time we need to receive it—the time which will result in the greatest good for us and in His greatest glory. Christian, answers delayed are not answers denied! God uses the testing of our faith to strengthen our faith, and that test often comes through the silence of heaven.
When Jesus said that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel, He was telling this Gentile (non-Jewish) woman that a “wall of hostility” between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14) still stood in its place. We learn from the New Testament that this wall would only come down after the death and resurrection of our Lord, when the great Gospel mystery (Ephesians 3:6) of salvation through faith in the promised Messiah would be revealed to Jew and Gentile alike.
The woman’s humble response to Jesus about the dogs being willing to receive “the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” reveals a heart that presumed upon no blessing promised to the house of Israel. Rather, she simply hoped to find a blessing for her daughter in the overflow of God’s blessings bestowed upon the Jews. Her humility was a great as her faith, which may call to mind Jesus’ lovely assurance that “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
How instructive is this story for you and me today! Answers delayed are not answers denied. May our faith find its expression in trusting in our Lord, even when we cannot trace Him, knowing that in His perfect time and in His gracious way He will give us exactly what we need, never withholding it one moment longer than it is necessary for our greatest good and His majestic glory.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!