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no answer

January 28, 2013

Matthew 15:21-28 tells the story of a Gentile, or non-Jewish mother of a demon-possessed girl. She had come to beg Jesus for help. Verse 23a says, “Jesus did not answer a word,” (NIV). My first reaction is to ask why He would be so rude as to not respond to such a desperate cry for help? The footnote for verse 28 from The Full Life Study Bible helped me with that. It talks about how our faith is tested when we receive no answer to our prayers. It may be that we’re being tested to see if we will persevere in asking for whatever is on our hearts. I wish I could put it in flashing neon lights in my house that just because i receive no answer from my Father doesn’t mean He doesn’t care, is busy elsewhere, or that the answer is, “No”. Very possibly my faith is being tested to see if I will persevere and continue to ask. I could easily get the spoiled child syndrome if every request was granted with each initial request. When I looked at it in that perspective I recalled a few times when I did not give my children a definite answer to what they asked for. i needed to see if they really meant what they said. At other times I would smile but give no audible answer, as I was waiting for them to think through the process and come up with a better solution.

The Life Recovery Bible has an article on this passage that culminates in the thought that our desperation coupled with the our confidence that God is the only One Who can help us results in strong, unwavering faith.

The Quest Study Bible gives some other possibilities. Jesus may have been showing His disciples that God answers persistent prayers. No answer does not mean He will never answer, just not this minute.

The Life Application Study Bible states in the footnote for verse 23 that the disciples might have been puzzled that Jesus gave no answer. Their focus was not on sensitivity to her needs but on their own inconvenience. They may have been prejudiced against the fact that she was a Gentile or simply her neediness. As a teaching point for the reader, the last sentence of that footnote on page 1574 says, “Instead of being annoyed, be aware of the opportunities that surround you, and make an effort to look for ways to minister to others.” Good side note. Now let’s get back to “no answer”.

His disciples asked Him to make her leave because she kept begging them for help. It was at that point that Jesus answered the woman. Again I see that no answer does not mean we will never receive an answer. God answers our requests like our modern day stoplight. He may say, “Yes,” like a green light, “Wait” like the yellow, or “No,” as in the red. My part is to persevere and continue to ask.

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  2. Thank you so much for leaving such an encouraging comment! It is greatly appreciated!

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