Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Nameless Saint of Persistence

Known only as a "Canaanite woman," this desperate mother of Matthew 15 (Gospel for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost) teaches us a great deal about real faith. In the comfort of our plush chairs and stable homes, we can only imagine the horror this poor woman endured on a daily basis. Can you picture her daughter overwhelmed by personal evil, disheveled and wild-eyed in rage? Can you appreciate the pain of seeing one you love so tortured and manipulated by this uncaring demonic power? And then to endure the rude indifference of the disciples who desire only to be rid of the annoyance of her cries for help. Yet the greatest test comes when she must face the Lord Himself who seems to turn away at just the moment of her greatest need. She came in true faith, believing in the mercy of God, trusting that the Messiah would care. But then she encounters silence and the face of God is initially hidden. Most would surrender in frustration and self-pity and walk away. Yet not this woman. She knows the truth of who Jesus is and why He has come. He is the Messiah come to save the world. Instead of giving in to emotion's deception, she trusts the objective truth of what she believes in the Word. This is true faith. Tested faith. Faith in the hidden God not faith dependent on contrived visions. Yet this is also persistent and gritty faith. May God grant this to us as well. And may this nameless saint of persistence encourage us never to surrender to despair, but rather to cling always to the cross of our redemption.

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