Free will is a God-given privilege. I is an attribute of LOVE. He created us to have freedom, for us not to be forced or coerced into something we don’t desire to do.
In worship, I used to ask the Lord why doesn’t He just come in His powerful glory invading the earth where everyone who comes under the glory cloud won’t have much of a choice but to bow down low and worship Him. How glorious it would look then when all of us will be glued low in honor and reverence of His presence. But then I came to realize that when He always comes this way, He would be negating our free will to worship Him.
In life, there is always resistance. If there aren’t, then we will never grow in faith to believe for greater things. Do you know that if challenges are perceived in the right way, it will always produce the right fruit in our lives? Trials are meant for us to activate and exercise our dependency on the Lord. Self sufficiency is prideful but total dependency on Him delights His heart for He desires to us to co-labor with Him in all our doings. It is He Who knows all things. It is He Who knows the way. It is He Who has the power and ability to do all things. And the best part of it is His willingness to walk with us for He Who promised is faithful.
I love the faith of the Syrophoenician woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Just because she wasn’t entertained at the onset of her encounter with Jesus, it didn’t stop her from pressing in. She was denied access four times but she never gave up.
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” (Matthew 15:22)
But He answered her NOT a word. (v.23)
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “SEND HER AWAY, for she cries out after us.” (v.23)
But He answered and said, “I WAS NOT SENT except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v.24)
Up to this point, she already bumped into three closed doors. But instead of being OFFENDED, she still pursued. She worshiped and still continued to ask for His mercy.
Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” (v.25)
But then again, unexpectedly, another closed door was coming her way.
But He answered and said, “It is NOT GOOD to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (v.26)
If you have been told that what you’re asking for is NOT GOOD FOR you for it wasn’t meant for you, what would your natural reaction be? Not just that, in this verse, she was equated to be called a dog, hmmmmm …. don’t you think you had it by now if it was you? Oh well, I don’t even know how I would respond to a conversation like this. But the desperation in her heart for her daughter to be healed kept her in pursuit of Jesus Whom she heard Who heals ALL who needs healing. She never even thought that for her to be a gentile would matter though it was a law during their times that a Jew was not supposed to mingle with Gentiles.
But the JOY that was set before her gave her the tenacity not to give up. The very thought of her daughter being healed gave her the courage and strength to pursue KNOWING in her heart that if she won’t give up she will see her daughter delivered from being demon possession. She was willing to do whatever it takes for the love that she has for her daughter.
And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (v. 27)
Who would have thought that her reply would please our Lord Jesus? She didn’t find it demeaning to eat the crumbs let alone be called a dog. And Jesus commended and found GREAT FAITH in her.
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, GREAT IS YOUR FAITH! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (v. 28)
We all face different situations and different time frames. Sometimes when we cry out He answers with such instancy, sometimes He doesn’t. But how do we respond when we don’t see it right away?
One secret to stay standing while waiting that I found in this story is worship. When we worship, His presence envelopes and embraces us that causes our minds to receive thoughts that are beyond our comprehension. I believe the Syrophoenician woman’s response to every resistance that she faced was downloaded to her by Holy Spirit for they were such power-packed, a cut above, peculiar responses.
God is Love. Everything that He does is because of love. Could it be, too, that because of the woman’s love for her daughter that compelled her to have the audacity to go near Jesus let alone asking Him for mercy though faced with a series of opposition, Jesus saw LOVE and responded in LOVE? Love is the most powerful force. It is unstoppable. It is irresistible. And IT NEVER FAILS.
Photo Credit: Erik Quianzon