As I sat in adoration yesterday reflected on the readings for today in preparation for this mornings Communion Service, I began to muse on the actions of the Israelites as they were journeying through the desert. It reminded me of an incident in my own life from when I was a small child. My mother
She took me to the doctor and he put some salve on it. Then he told her, "you take him home and bust his butt." Why? Because I didn't listen. It's kind of like those Israelites here in the desert. In the past few days we have heard how they saw all of these miracles. They saw the plagues in Egypt. The red sea parted. Pharaoh's army swallowed up in the waters. Then when they grumbled about not having their fancy foods from Egypt, God himself provided bread from heaven miraculously on the ground for them to eat.
Now he has led them day and night with a massive pillar of flame and smoke. Something to remind them every day of the power of God. He led them to the promised land and said "Here it is, everything you could ever want, fertile soil, plenty of water.. a land of milk and honey. Take it, I give it to you." They don't believe him. They grumble and complain. They spread rumors about how tough it will be. They refuse to go. They don't think the Lord knows better than the they do.
Then we see in the Gospel reading a complete turn around. We see a woman who is the "they." The enemy. The "other." She should be going to her own gods, her idols for help. Instead a Canaanite comes to a Jewish Rabbi and begs for His help. He even almost insults her, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs," Jesus responds. Then she makes a declaration of faith, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.” How powerful a statement this is! Jesus commends her faith and performs a miracle because of it.
I think that is our lesson for today. To trust in the power of God, to trust even when it seems it might be difficult. No matter where he is calling us, no matter how difficult the odds, we should be trusting and step forth in faith. How hard would it be to swallow your pride and go to the 'enemy,' and ask them for a favor? Even after they call you a dog? Are you ready to step out in faith and go where God leads you? To undertake even those tasks that look like they are too hard to overcome? There is a beautiful saying in the 11th chapter of Luke that expresses it so well. " “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Let's believe in those promises, stepping out into the land of milk and honey. In this world of strange happenings and skewed moral compasses, we need our faith more than ever.