By Michelle Schroeder
“O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” ~Matthew 15:28
Punishment and Reward
Today’s reading from the Old Testament told of the Jewish people’s doubts about taking the land God promised them. They didn’t think they could defeat the current inhabitants, so they grumbled against God for leading them out of Egypt for nothing. Their lack of trust in God’s plan resulted in a substantial punishment – they were made to wander in the desert for 40 years. In Numbers 14:34, “Corresponding to the number of days you spent reconnoitering the land – forty days – you shall bear your punishment one year for each day: 40 years. Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.” All I could think was, “Harsh.” I looked forward to moving on to the Gospel with our loving, merciful Jesus. And then I read the Gospel, Matthew 15: 21-28. First, Jesus completely ignores the Canaanite woman who was begging him to exorcise a demon from her daughter. Then, when the woman doesn’t give up, Jesus doesn’t exactly sound loving and merciful. But the woman pushes back yet again, so sure was she that Jesus could restore her child. “Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Matthew 15:28). And her daughter was healed instantly.
Cause and Effect
As I thought about these two stories, it hit me. The Israelites were punished for their lack of faith, while the Canaanite woman was rewarded for her abundant faith. What does my level of faith bring to my life? Will I be punished for lacking or rewarded for abundance? Will I give up on God’s plan and be left wandering and wondering why my prayers are unanswered? Or is my faith so great that I’m willing to wait for an answer that I am absolutely certain is coming?
Lord, give me the faith to stay true to your plan, even when it seems impossible. Please help me to remember your constant faithfulness to me.
Call to Action
Ask God to increase your faith and list all the times you’ve been rewarded for your confidence in our Lord. Pray with this list when you’re tempted to lose faith.
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