This month I have been meditating a lot on personal encounters with Jesus — meeting with Him one on one — because the Bible says in First Corinthians 6:17 that “…He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” We are one with Him! And today I want to talk to you about a woman who had a very personal one-on-one encounter with Jesus — the Canaanite woman. We find her story in Matthew 15:22-28:
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 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.
The first thing we notice from this passage is she was “a woman of Canaan.” That means her relatives in the past had been enemies of Israel, who were God’s chosen people. The Canaanites were known for offering human sacrifices and worshipping idols. So this woman from a terrible background came to Jesus, and the Bible says she “cried out to Him.” She cried over and over again, yelling out to Jesus, “…Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed” (v. 22).
As you can see, this woman had intense desire. As a Canaanite, she knew who she was and who her ancestors were, but she didn’t care because she wanted something from Jesus. She was desperate to receive this deliverance for her daughter. She went to Jesus and made a great effort to get Him to notice her. And then in her crying out — which wasn’t just once — Jesus still didn’t give her any attention. But that was not going to stop her. She was desperate to get help for her daughter, and she wasn’t about to give up.
When you and I come to a difficult situation — and it could be a life-or-death situation — our desire matters. Is our desire to just believe God for a little while, maybe asking for a week or two for God to move in our situation before becoming disappointed? Look at this Canaanite woman. She was crying out so much, and she kept on crying out. And verse 23 tells us that Jesus didn’t even answer her. It says, “But He answered her not a word.”
However, that didn’t stop her. This woman kept crying out until, finally, the disciples asked Jesus to send her away — but she would not be moved!
Then Jesus does answer her. In verse 24, He says, “…‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” Does this stop the woman? No! Verse 25 continues, “Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’” Her desire had not changed. And she knew that Jesus was her only hope.
How many of us, when we need or want something from God and we know He is our only answer, give up just because we don’t get our answer fast enough? Maybe we are not desperate like this Canaanite woman, or maybe we aren’t focused on Him as intently as she was.
Do we cry out for Jesus and not care what others think or say about us? That’s what this woman did. She cried out to Jesus for the answer she needed, and she didn’t let anything stop her. Then she worshiped Jesus. What did her worship look like? Did she fall on her face? Did she put her face on the ground and weep and say, “Lord, You are Lord. Please help me!”?
We really don’t know how she worshiped, but we can learn from her example. When you’re faced with an impossible situation, you can worship Jesus and recognize Him as your only answer!
The Canaanite woman was not letting go of the possibility that her daughter would be free. No one else was crying out to Jesus for her daughter. It was just her and Jesus. And this was her opportunity — her one-on-one encounter with Him! She didn’t care about the disciples’ or anyone else’s opinion. She came to Jesus for one reason and one reason only — for the deliverance of her daughter.
Have you been in a situation like that? Where it was just you and Jesus and there was no one else there to encourage you? When at the midnight hour, it seemed so dark and lonely? Or when it was only you and Jesus, and you desperately needed Him to act?
I was at that place in my life once, and there was no other answer for me. My body was screaming at me with pain, and my mind was screaming at me. At that time, I was even having panic attacks because I was so filled with fear. In that moment, when I did not know how I was going to get out of that situation, I only knew that Jesus was my answer and He was my only answer. I remember taking hold of the sink one night while everyone else was sleeping and saying, “Lord, I don’t know what’s going on, but I am not letting go of You.” It was just a few weeks later that my deliverance, healing, and answer came. I can identify with the Canaanite woman because Jesus was her only answer and she determined not to let Him go.
Perhaps you have been in that place before, where you knew that Jesus was your only answer and you were not letting go until you got your answer. It is when we come to this deep place of worship and say in our heart, I do not know what I have to do or how long it is going to take to get my answer, but I am not letting go of You. You are my only hope.
There is something so holy about recognizing that Jesus is Lord of your life, and you can trust Him and Him alone. That is worship! And out of that deep place of worship from this woman came a very simple prayer: Lord, help me!
Friend, maybe you are at that place right now, where you know that Jesus is your only answer. Maybe you have become tired and you are tempted to give up. I want to encourage you that as you seek Him and worship Him, there is something that will happen inside you when you come to that place. You get a very simple answer. This is what happened to the Canaanite woman. She said three words to Jesus — Lord, help me!
Those three simple words drew that woman into a conversation with Jesus, where He said, “…It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (Matthew 15:26). That bread represented healing, and because she was a Canaanite woman, she, in the eyes of Jews, was considered a little dog. But that did not discourage this woman. She said to herself, Great. Crumbs fall from the table. I will take those crumbs. Then she said to Jesus, “…Even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (v. 27). When she said this, Jesus said, “Great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire…” (v. 28). And her little girl was delivered!
Dear friend, Jesus said that in this world, we would have tribulation — but to cheer up, for He has overcome the world (see John 16:33). The midnight hour will come to all of us at some time. So what are we going to do? What a great example we see in this woman who refused to give up and who pressed through her terrible background and difficult situation — first being ignored by Jesus, then being pushed away by the disciples, and, finally, being called a dog. But she continued to press through to get her answer.
Don’t let go of your desire, and don’t let go of the fact that Jesus is your only answer. Press through the obstacles and roadblocks that come because Jesus is with you, and He will see you to the other side of this trouble.
Thank you so much for spending this time with me. If God is doing something special in your life, please let us know. And if you have any prayer requests, we are here for you. We would love to lift your needs before the Lord and believe with you for your answer. Just call us at 1-800-742-5593 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT, or you can send us your prayer request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I am so grateful for all the comments I’ve received in response to my new TV program Time With Denise Renner. I read all of them! If you haven’t done so yet, I invite you to join us for the next program on YouTube, Facebook, or Telegram! And I also want to let you know that my new book Unstoppable will be officially released this month. Be sure to get your copy of this powerful and encouraging word that can help you overcome hindrances and push past obstacles to receive God’s supply and position yourself to fulfill your divine destiny!
Let’s keep pressing forward together,