Like the Canaanite Woman: Pressing Through the Silence
In the same way that nature goes through seasons, so do we in our lives and in our relationships with the Lord. Recently a close friend and I were talking about how we both feel like we’re in a “silent” season in our lives. It seems like no matter what we do – pressing into the Lord every day, trying to keep our attitudes in check, talking to mentors, etc, etc – we just can’t hear Him speak. It was amazing how the more we talked we kept identifying with what the other one was saying. We talked about what we thought He might be trying to teach us. Do we learn things from our daily devotions and teachings that we hear? Of course. But as great and wonderful as all of that is (and it really is) we both kept finding ourselves over and over again in the place of crying out. I know I did. “Lord! There has got to be more than this, I just know it! I miss Your voice. Where is it? Why can’t I hear it? What do I do? What are You saying? I need You! Please don’t be silent!” Sometimes I found myself crying out while driving and hitting the steering wheel, sometimes while crying myself to sleep, sometimes quietly in my spirit while someone else was sharing what the Lord had directly and intimately spoken to them. Then this past week I’ve been reading the story in Matthew 15 (also found in Mark 7) about the Canaanite woman who seeks out Jesus to ask Him to cast a demon out of her daughter. Actually she didn’t just ask, she fell at His feet and begged Him. The very next verse says that Jesus “did not answer a word.” He didn’t even respond to her pleading. Hold up, isn’t this Jesus we’re talking about? Doesn’t He always answer? Well, she didn’t let that stop her. She kept pleading, even when the disciples got annoyed enough to ask Jesus to send her away. She was persistent. It was almost as if she had blinders on and earplugs in – not seeing or hearing anything except Jesus, knowing that His words could change everything. Finally, Jesus responds. It may or may not have been what she had expected, it wasn’t what she was hoping for, but He answered. Their conversation was short, difficult, and probably from her perspective hard to endure, but endure she did. After what I imagine to be a few heart-pounding, breath-holding minutes Jesus commends her for her faith and grants her request. Wow – He was testing her faith. This woman’s life (and the life of her daughter) was never the same, all because she refused to stop pursuing Jesus – even when He was silent. This story has greatly encouraged me. I may not understand and I still want to hear His voice loud and clear again, but maybe He’s speaking through the silence. Maybe the silence is one of His ways of saying, “Even if you can’t hear Me, dear one, see Me, or feel Me near, will you still press into Me? Are you willing to seek Me even when I’m silent?” I know He will answer, He will speak, for His Word stands true and His promises are trustworthy. As it says in Jeremiah 29:13-14, “You will seek Me and find Me when You seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” The Canaanite woman was desperate, persistent, and relentless. She humbled herself, pressed in, and moved the heart of Jesus and was willing to wait for Him to respond. Am I?