5th Week in Ordinary Time
The demon has gone out of your daughter.
What a relief! Finally, after all her begging and pleading, the woman prevailed upon Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter. She knew that according to social and ethnic conventions, she—a Gentile—had no business going to Jesus—a Jew—with her request. But her desperation overpowered these concerns. Here was the one man who could heal her daughter.
We might think that this woman should be commended for her faith, and we would be right. It took great confidence in Jesus for her to plead her case. But faith is only one of her virtues. She could have believed all she wanted, but it would have gotten her nowhere if she hadn’t pushed back against Jesus’ seeming reluctance. She needed determination as well. And she clearly had more than enough of that!
This story shows us that living in faith is not just a matter of resting peacefully in God’s loving arms. It’s not just a matter of trusting that everything will turn out all right. No, there are times when faith means having the determination to fight through obstacles until we see the outcome we believe God wants to give us. There are times when we need to couple faith with strength of will.
For instance, it doesn’t show a lack of faith if you ask the Lord to give you a job and then spend most of your day checking the want ads and going on interviews. Neither does it show spiritual weakness if you ask God to heal a relationship and then take the first step toward reconciliation with an estranged friend. If anything, God applauds these efforts because they show that you are putting your faith into action. They show that you are expecting that he will not leave you high and dry when you step out on your own.
We all have areas in our lives where we need to take the first step—and the second and third steps—before we will see God work. Let’s take those steps, firm in our faith and trusting in God’s provision.
“Jesus, help me to take those first steps in faith, confident that you will carry me the rest of the way.”
1 Kings 11:4-13
Psalm 106:3-4, 35-37, 40