Faith that realizes God’s promises perseveres despite the circumstances, delays, and silence of God. Answered prayer and miracles don’t typically come to the timid, but to the bold. Breakthrough comes to those who unashamedly storm the throne room of Heaven until the answer comes. Humility is required, but so is tenacious persistence.
In this article, by examining the faith of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28, we will study important principles about persevering faith.
Recorded as a Woman of Great Faith
This Canaanite woman, mentioned by Jesus as a person who had great faith, didn’t allow shame, low self-esteem, or frustration with God to restrict her from receiving God’s grace and healing for her daughter.
Jeremiah 29:13 typifies the faith of the Canaanite woman: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (NKJV). Faith and perseverance is required.
Canaanite Woman is Disadvantaged
Jesus and the disciples ventured into the region of Tyre and Sidon. They wanted a time of rest and privacy. A parallel passage in Mark 7:24 says that He entered a house for privacy and to be alone with His disciples. He was not out ministering to the masses this day.
In this moment of rest for Jesus and the disciples, this woman found Him and cried out for His help. She came with many disadvantages.
First, she was a woman. In Israel in those days, women were expected to keep quiet and to remain a little distant.
Second, she was a Canaanite of Greek descent. She was not part of the people of Israel; she lacked the necessary credentials. She wasn’t part of the 12, nor of the 70, nor of the 500, according to Jewish law, she didn’t have a part or rightful inheritance.
Lastly, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus was not preaching or ministering to the people that day. Jesus was withdrawing; He was resting.
She Cries Out for Help!
“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” (Matt. 15:22 NKJV)
‘Son of David’ was a Messianic title. She was more aware of who Jesus was than religious Pharisees. Despite her disadvantage, she found the courage to cry out desperately to Jesus because of the torment her daughter was in.
Perhaps you feel unworthy to come to Jesus today. Listen, you are worthy!
Jesus declares in Matthew’s gospel, “Come to Me all of you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 NKJV).
When we push aside our pride and our self-reliance and we determine to pursue God alone, we are positioning ourselves to come “boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
Apart from Christ, none of us can approach God. However, the cross of Jesus, His death and resurrection, has removed the barrier and given each of us the right and credentials to approach Him.
King David declared in Psalm 34:6 “This poor (or humble) man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (NKJV).
Jesus is near; cry out to Him today! He longs to deliver you from your trouble. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He is God Almighty, El-Shaddai, the ever-present, all-powerful Lord who can do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
The trials and traumas in life, God will use so that we will cry out and seek His presence.
Some grow bitter and sad when they go through trials. Don’t grow bitter; wait on God for your breakthrough, and God will be glorified!
The Silence of God
“He answered her not a word.” (Matt. 15:23 NKJV)
How difficult when we only hear the silence of God. Sometimes, the Lord delays His answer and His first answer is silence.
This Canaanite woman broke the rules of culture and religion. She did not say, “The Lord is Jewish, and I am a pagan woman; He won’t have anything to do with me.”
She came because her daughter was suffering, and she knew He was the answer. How desperate are you? How humble will you become to get an answer to prayer?
If there is pride in the heart, we may become offended at the silence and delays of God. God will use the delays to mold us more into His likeness (see Romans 5:3-5).
Perhaps you are experiencing the silence of God in this season. The silence of God will test our hearts to see if we truly trust Him and will stand in faith for the answer.
The Lord spoke to me regarding this passage a few years ago:
“Bob, the moment she came to Me, I wanted to give her what she wanted. Like the centurion in Matthew 8, I wanted others to see her great faith!”
This woman came to Him, and, though she heard nothing at first, she was determined to receive from God. Sadly, at the silence of God, many give up.
Perhaps you have been praying, crying out to God for an answer. Don’t lose heart. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking! God hears the cry of the righteous; His miracle is on the way!
Blind Eye Sees
I was ministering in Sao Paulo, Brazil recently. While praying for people who needed healing, a young woman approached me for prayer for her right eye that was legally blind. She could only see out of it 18% and was desperate for healing.
I’ve seen that look in people before, faith mixed with determination and perseverance. We began to pray. No change at first. We kept praying, waiting on the Lord. After several minutes, she was beginning to see more. Her faith grew! We kept praying, and after a few more minutes of prayer, tears began to stream down her face as she excitedly exclaimed, she could see 100% out of her eye! Jesus answered her request speedily! Faith and perseverance are needed to realize answers.
I Cannot Attend to You Right Now!
“Send her away, for she cries out after us.” (Matt. 15:23 NKJV)
When we are overtaken by a spirit of religion, how easy it is to forget about human suffering.
Here we find the disciples saying, “Lord, this woman is causing us an inconvenience. Tell her to leave.”
The disciples were restricted by a religious mindset. They were more concerned about religious protocol and their own rest. Their mindset was a hinderance to faith and healing.
Religion apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit creates rules and legalism, which inhibits God’s grace and power to flow. He is looking to us to minister to those in need. We have been anointed with the Holy Spirit to heal and deliver the oppressed.
Yet, the answer Jesus gives seems even colder!
Here she stands, a short distance from Jesus, waiting for a positive answer. Then, in Matthew 15:24, Jesus replies to the disciples, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
He was saying, “I am not in Israel now or with my people, and she is not one of them. I cannot attend to her right now” (See Matt. 10:5-6). Jesus was sent first to the Jewish people with the message of the Kingdom of God. This is what He is explaining to this Gentile woman.
The Canaanite woman may have heard the dialogue, and she knew she wasn’t welcome. She felt despised and rejected, and she easily could have left… But she persisted!
Many people say, “Lord, I have faith,” but their faith and perseverance is shallow. Many grow weary and stop contending for the promise. Perhaps it is for divine healing, deliverance, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, financial breakthrough, family situations, etc.
Do you know what Jesus was doing to the Canaanite woman? He was testing and revealing her heart.
We Need Faith and Perseverance
This woman knew Jesus had the power to heal, she recognized He was the promised Messiah—the Son of David—and she had faith! However, what we also observe is her perseverance.
(Heb 11:6 NLT) “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
(Heb. 11:6 AMPC) “…the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”
The word ‘diligent’ is from the Greek ‘ekzētéō,’ and it means ‘to seek earnestly, demand, inquire, to bring charges against,’ like a good lawyer bringing the law before a judge.
A similar story of perseverance is with the woman who had the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). She hemorrhaged for 12 years and had spent all her money seeking a remedy. She was physically, emotionally, and financially ruined, but she pressed through the crowd to touch Jesus! Perseverance—mixed with faith—resulted in her miracle.
Don’t Get Offended by God
Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” (Matt. 15:25 NKJV).
Contrast her sincere heart of worship with the Pharisees “superficial” worship.
Look at the response of Jesus:
“It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs (a reference to Gentiles, or non-Jews).” (Matt. 15:26 NKJV)
What would you have done in that situation? Many would have gone home offended that day. Many think, “God doesn’t love me, He gives to others, but I don’t receive anything.” Could it be that God is testing your faith and perseverance?
Often, we try to comprehend the delays, responses, and mysteries of God apart from revelation by the Spirit. Jesus was doing more than just testing the woman’s faith; He was revealing an aspect of His messianic mission—first to the Jew.
Is it possible that in God’s plan and timetable, His silence or delay toward us is only due to a bigger plan that we don’t comprehend? Absolutely.
Jesus’ response was strong:
“It is not good to take the miracles of the Kingdom that I have for the people of Israel and give them to foreigners like you.”
DON’T back away when you are seeking God for a miracle. Pursue God, press after Him, and wait patiently! Don’t become offended. Weak faith demands God to answer the whys!
Offense and pride ask God “Why?” rather than, “God, will you help me understand this?”
Be like the Canaanite woman; you must come to God and say,
“Lord, I am not giving up. I came to receive a miracle from you, and here I am. I am seeking, searching, and knocking! Lord, help my unbelief!”
Humility, the Winning Ingredient
The Canaanite woman could have thrown herself a great pity party that day and returned home offended. Look what she said:
“Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (Matt. 15:27 NKJV)
Such wisdom! Perhaps she understood that the Abrahamic covenant included the Gentiles.
This woman was saying, “Lord, even if it is just the crumbs, please give them to me. I will take even a crumb of a miracle if it helps relieve the suffering of my daughter.”
The Canaanite woman looked to a day when God would pour His Spirit upon all flesh, making one new man, consisting of both Jew and Gentile. I think she knew that God’s Kingdom was available for all!
Can you discern the hour in which we live? God’s Spirit has been poured upon all flesh. Prophetic revelation, healing, and miracles are to be the norm.
The psalmist declares, “…I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God…” (Psalm 84:10 NKJV) than to not to be in Your presence! Humility is needed to receive from God.
The Canaanite woman not only had faith and perseverance, but she also had discernment and humility!
“Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (Matt. 15:28 NKJV)
Her great faith recorded for many to read!
Here are keys to receive from God: Faith, Perseverance, and Humility!
Surrender pride, and allow the Holy Spirit to remove any hurt, offense, and bitterness from your heart.
Sometimes, hurt and offense toward God and others quenches the Holy Spirit from moving in our hearts and lives.
We must also surrender our schedules and agendas and humble ourselves before Him! We must be willing to allow Him to change us from within.
He wants to change us and keep changing us until we grow into the measure of the stature of fullness of Christ.
Don’t hold back; cry out to Him, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Take a moment and pray:
“Father, I ask You would forgive me of any offense or bitterness I have toward You. You alone are God; I surrender my control and my understanding to Your will and way.
Forgive me of my pride and self-centered attitude that I must know everything instead of trusting You.
I ask God for a gift of faith and perseverance to remain steadfast and persistent despite the silence and seeming delays of the answer.
Now Lord, I come boldly to Your throne and ask for my miracle and breakthrough! In Jesus’ Name!”
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Faith: Perseveres”:
 Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 300.