If you are a Parkrun regular, you would be accustomed to running 5k with dog-owners and their dogs. Before each race, the announcer will remind the owners to keep their dogs on a lead. Some dogs bark in excitement, while others are just eager to get on with the run. I sometimes find myself saying, “I gotta beat that dog!”
Well, Jesus, journeying one day towards the region of Tyre and Sidon, encountered (as He always did), someone who was desperate for a miracle. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!” she cried after Jesus. Unlike other times, Jesus did not turn around and grant the woman’s request. Instead, “He answered her not a word.” As if this was not enough, Jesus’ disciples urged Him to send the woman away. Why? She did not stop shouting her request and was becoming a nuisance to the ministry entourage.
The snub and rejection were not the end of the saga. Jesus went on to say categorically that He had no time for the desperate woman. He even called her – indirectly, I must add – a “little dog”, one that was not worthy of the Father’s blessings! Surely, this was humiliation gone too far! The woman had the right to retain her dignity and defend herself. But, instead of react to the insults and maltreatment, she stressed the point that little dogs can eat the crumbs from the Father’s table! To which Jesus said, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” From that very hour, the woman received her miracle (see Matthew 15:21-28).
Wow! How dogged was this Canaanite woman’s faith! She encountered obstacle after obstacle, but kept on going to the end. If she chose to be discouraged because of the setbacks, even the ones that came from Jesus, she would have forfeited her miracle. Now, can you beat this “dog”?
How many times have you quit your race because of what someone said or did to you? How quick are we to react when circumstances poke and deride us? What about times when God seems silent and God’s people unwelcoming? Do we quit in frustration or just keep standing in faith? There are too many distractions on the pathway of life, and if we give attention to them, we will soon go off track and may never reach the end of the miracle process.
Surely, this “little dog” set a high faith standard! Can you beat THIS dog?