2019 – Deeper
Faith Like a Dog
THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE(S)
Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, 26 and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter. Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27 Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” 28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” 29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. Mark 7:25-30 NLT
THOUGHTS FROM CAMERON
This passage of scripture has always been surprising to me. It’s quite hard for me to believe that Jesus would, even in a roundabout way, call someone a dog. However, at face value, that seems to be what is happening here. As I dug deeper into the context of this phrase it got a little better, but not much. The word Jesus uses in this phrase is a word that was used to refer to a household pet. So at least Jesus was referring to her in the same way I would refer to my two dogs instead of a stray dog who probably has rabies, right? With this context, we can understand that what Jesus is saying makes sense. If my wife was about to die of starvation, it would be ridiculous for me to feed my dog Frankie, who has gotten amazingly good at the “puppy eyes,” before I feed my wife. In that same context, Jesus is saying that His primary calling is to the Jews, and His time is too short and precious to be spent on anyone else.
However, if your dogs are anything like mine, just because I tell them to “stop begging,” or “go lay down,” does not mean that they won’t continue to look up at me like I haven’t fed them in years. No matter how hungry I obviously am, or how much I am enjoying my wife’s homecooked burrito bowls, they will continue to sit there looking as cute as they possibly can, believing that eventually I will break and give them what they want.
I wonder if this persistent attitude is what pushed Jesus to bless this woman with the miracle she was asking for. She understood that she wasn’t whom Jesus came to minister to. She understood that her begging was probably a bit annoying. She was even okay with being referred to as a dog, but nothing was going to keep her from receiving her miracle. Do we have this same attitude? Are we willing to keep asking, keep working, and keep believing until it happens? I believe that sometimes, just like Jesus was testing this lady’s persistence and pride, He tests us in the same way. He wants to see if you will keep believing in Him when everyone is telling you to stop; if you will keep working when you aren’t seeing any progress; if you will keep praying when it seems like your prayers are hitting the ceiling. I believe that if what we are believing for lines up with God’s word and will for our lives, He will honor our persistent faith.