There’s an interesting passage in Mark 7 where Jesus walked all the way from where He was in Galilee, and northward towards Tyre and Sidon. This was Gentile territory, in what we know today as Lebanon.
It was a long distance by foot. He went there and seemingly all that happened was a Syrophoenician woman, whose daughter was demon-possessed, came to Jesus and pestered Him to cast out the demon from her daughter. And the Lord completely disregarded her request.
Instead, He said to her that it was not good to throw the children’s bread to the dogs. Ouch! The woman was unperturbed by this insult. She had thick skin. So she replied, “Yes, but even the little dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs!”
The Lord responded, “For this saying (which really reflected her tenacity), the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
The next thing we know, Jesus departed from Tyre and Sidon and headed back to Galilee which, I’d like to emphasise again – was a very long journey by foot. End of assignment!
So what was that all about? Have you ever thought about it? Why did our Lord take that long, arduous route to Tyre? Were there other things He did while there? I don’t know, we were not told. But, all we know is that God does not do random. So what was the purpose of the detour?
I think the key is to understand what or whom this woman represents. Here’s how I see this story – I think this woman represents everyone who has fallen into some kind of sin; who feels they’ve missed the mark and been disqualified, estranged from Christ because they fell short, or have done things unworthy of the Master. We feel cut off from the commonwealth of Israel, and have no right to approach Him.
Hear me – the Lord deliberately took a long and arduous detour to have this encounter with this woman as a way of saying, once and for all, that He cares for you.
Even when we feel the resistance of the Lord, the way the Syrophoenician woman must have felt didn’t stop her from pressing in. And I think this is what the Lord really loves.
He loves it when we keep coming to Him, over and over, even when it seems He’s not responding, or worse, when He seems to be pushing us away.
But we keep on coming to Him and don’t stop. It’s this persistence that will always be the one thing that will pay off. That’s the key to this whole story: do what this woman did.
This Syrophoenician woman knew she was not part of the commonwealth of Israel. Yes, she knew she did not qualify. Yes, she knew she had no right to come to Jesus and ask what she did. And when she came, she faced an insult but was not perturbed. She kept pressing in. And often, in our walk with God, we’ve got to learn just to be thick-skinned and press in.
Rick Joyner, a prophet, said that those who have experienced repeated mistakes and failures, yet do not quit, will not only be some of the strongest possible leaders, but also the wisest.
I find this interesting. Whatever you do, don’t give up. In the words of the great wartime Prime Minister of Britain Winston Churchill, “Never, but never give up!” Keep pressing inwards and onwards. Your breakthrough is just around the corner.