Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him."
"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me."
Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
I notice something when I compare these passages. The disciples were close to Jesus. Why did they have so little faith? Did they trust in their status as disciples instead of having faith in God?
On the other hand, the Canaanite woman dared to challenge what Jesus said because of her desperation. And he responded to that as faith. I think there's some kind of context here that I'm missing, and it matters. How does this shed light on the definition of faith?
Beth Moore says:
If you're the way I've often been, you want to have your cake and eat it too. We want to continue in our God-testing unbelief and still see Him move mountains. Sure, it occasionally happens in our individual lives. God is merciful that way.
Why do you think God is sometimes willing to reveal Himself dramatically even when we're not actively believing Him?
This makes me think about what happened to me in 1992. I prayed a prayer on January 23 and confessed my unbelief; and God responded in a way that I am certain was meant to help my unbelief. I am in a similar place of unbelief lately, but God is not going to continue to enable my unbelief by answering as if I believed. He is calling me to a deeper place of faith. I am asking Him to heal my migraines and provide me a family. I must go on as if He already has done these things. He is not limited by time as I am. I'm just living in the world's time, and He is setting me apart for something greater than what I see around me. I can't resent that. I must embrace it as an act of faith. I must build the habits now that I will need when I enter that promised land.
Believing God can really be work at times! When external evidences scream to the contrary, we have to exert volitional muscle. Deciding to believe God's Word over our circumstances can be a tremendous exercise of the will at times.
That's where I'm getting hung up, I think. I want to look up and see that He's really going to answer if I believe "a little bit." But that's still an attitude of doubt. What can I do with my present unbelief? How is my prayer now different from my prayer in 1992? Lord, I know that I have an attitude of unbelief; but I also know that You exist and You reward those who dilligently seek You. I know that Your rewards are greatest eternally; but I also know that Your goodness is something I can see in the land of the living. I know that You respond to cries of desperation--sometimes even more than You respond to what looks like a claim of faith. So I am going on about my daily life, and I ask that You would open doors for me even this week so that my faith is built even further.</p>
The walk of faith assumes a walk with God. Faith cannot walk alone. Faith on its own changes nothing. In fact, it cannot even exist independently. Faith' s very essence is dependency. For faith to have life, it must find a powerful object in which to be placed or a powerful Person by whom to walk. In your earlier Scripture readings, faith on its own did nothing to heal. The beneficiaries' faith in Christ healed them. Two thousand years later, the God-ordained precepts have not changed. God wants to stretch forth His mighty hand in our lives in manifold ways, but as a rule, it's present-active-participle faith in Christ that most attracts Him. God has much He wants to do and say in our generation. Faith is the primary means by which we place our hand in the outstretched hand of God and join Him.
I need to ponder this for a little while but wanted to include it here because it caught my attention.