One Sunday morning, I was standing outside the church entrance staring at the main door to the chapel. I took a deep breath. Slowly, I walked through the white door, up the aisle with a red carpet, taking two steps up to the alter. I stood behind the stand in front of the congregation. I opened my Bible and read the scripture, Mark 7: 24-30 where Jesus honors a Syrophoenician woman:
A woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. “First, let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Who was this woman? We read that the woman was Greek, a gentile, a non-Israelite woman born in Syrian Phoenicia, descended from Canaan, a cursed race, and she was not part of the Jewish inner circle. All the odds were against her. Yet, she begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. Then comes Jesus’ response, “First let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
She came back with an undeniably, captivating, and compelling reply, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” She was persistent. She did not mind taking a crumb or two. She was not proud, as she was a parent with a sick child who needed help. She was persistent enough to take a brave step forward. She knew Jesus had a “Yes” in his heart. Jesus spoke to this gentile woman as he stared into her eyes down into her soul. Jesus’ heart was touched by this woman’s faithful determination. Jesus was pleased with her reply: “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” The woman went home without seeing her daughter healed, she knew it was done. It is by faith that she stood.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Jesus was now honoring me as I began to preach, helping me realize a lifelong, seemingly unattainable dream. Persistence means giving it your best shot, being persistent, and not giving up on something until you achieve the desired result. It means adjusting, pushing through even when you make big and small mistakes, and facing everything the world throws at you until you attain your dreams and goals. A persistent person is not afraid to be wrong or fail; she is willing to go the extra mile. This is what the Syrophoenician Woman did, and this is what I did.
God has good plans for each one of us. However, we need to be persistent in our faith. At the right time, God will show up and bless the desires of our hearts. My story is evidence of this truth as I stood before a congregation to preach the Word of God.