Never give up. God hears our prayers…

“…your faith is great.  Your request is granted.” (Matthew 15:28)

How would you like to hear those words from the Lord right about now?  “Your prayers have been answered because of your great faith.”  Thank you, God!

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

But perhaps you feel the level of your faith is just not there yet.

I encourage you, never give up on the Lord.

Never give up your faith.

Never stop praying.

The cascade of these concurrent health and cultural pandemics has tried and tested our faith to the core, hasn’t it?  Life has a way of stretching us thin.  Ultimately, I believe the root of these global pandemics is actually a spiritual pandemic.  We are seeing the fruit of what it means to turn our backs on God.

Yet, there is hope.

There is Good News.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8)

God awaits us to return to Him and recalibrate our lives under His guidance and care, fully dependent upon the Lord, alone.

In Jesus’ time, a Gentile woman “came to Him, pleading, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!  For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.’” (Matthew 15:22)

Aren’t we crying out to God in a similar way?  “Lord, have mercy on our country, for a pandemic torments us severely.”

“But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word.” (Matthew 15:23)

Whew, that is tough.  Imagine being ignored by the Son of God.  Would you give up then?

Perhaps you feel as though God is not replying to your urgent prayers right now.  Do you feel as though He is ignoring you?  Consider the possibility that perhaps the Lord’s silence is intentional…in order to draw something deeper out of you.

God has a way of using distress in our lives to develop our faith to a deeper level…so that we can have “great faith.”  So, don’t throw in the towel.  Don’t give in.  Don’t give up.

“Then His disciples urged Him to send her away.  ‘Tell her to go away,’ they said.  ‘She is bothering us with all her begging.’” (Matthew 15:23)

Another setback for this dear woman.  On top of Jesus’ silence, the disciples were trying to whisk her away for causing such a commotion.

What about you?  Do you feel like you’re “bothering” Jesus with the same prayers, day after day?  Don’t give in.  Don’t give up.  God never tires of hearing you pray.

“But she came and worshiped Him, pleading again, ‘Lord, help me!’” (Matthew 15:23)

When all hell breaks loose – like it is now in our country and world – worship the Lord.  Acknowledge Him as the only one Who can fix our situation, and worship God for Who He is, for what He has done, and for what we trust Him to do.  Then cry out to Him, “Lord, help me!”

Just 3 words.  “Lord, help me.”  Try it.

It’s a simple but profound prayer of desperation.  Amid the 2003 flash-flood, I prayed it.  I often still pray it multiple times throughout the day.

Just as we are now, this woman was desperately dependent upon Jesus for deliverance.  She didn’t give in or give up.

“Jesus responded, ‘It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.’” (Matthew 15:26)

Jesus provided this woman every opportunity to walk away.  She had a tormented daughter; she had Jesus ignore her; she had the disciples shoosh her; and then she had Jesus correct her.

Perhaps all the challenges of these past 5 months have caused you to want to give up on your faith and just walk away.  But rather than be offended by Jesus, this woman humbly acquiesced and admitted she wasn’t worthy (being a Gentile and not a Jew).

“She replied, ‘That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.’” (Matthew 15:27)

She dug her heels in, stretched her little “faith” into “great faith”, and demonstrated that even a leftover morsel of Jesus’ healing virtue was ample to heal her daughter.

Jesus marveled at this humble, persistent woman.

“‘Dear woman,’ Jesus said to her, ‘your faith is great.  Your request is granted.’  And her daughter was instantly healed.” (Matthew 15:28)

Don’t give in. Don’t give up.  God will heal us.

Perhaps God’s “delay” in ending these pandemics is intended to draw us deeper, to desire Him more, and to develop our faith.

I encourage you to go “Into the Deep” corners of your faith, let it stretch further during these uncertain and challenging times, and let your simple faith develop into what Jesus marvels at, “great faith.”

When my 5 precious family members drowned in the Kansas flash-flood in 2003, my faith was stretched to the core.  Yet, thankfully, I never turned my back on God.  I never gave in.  I never gave up.  God was – and is – faithful.  He delivered me then.  He will deliver us now.

The Lord will heal us.  He will deliver us.  It’s up to us to pray, to seek Him, and to walk by faith.  We must live the Word of God and do the Word, for faith involves our feet.