When I was a child I remember being told that there was always someone else in a worse situation than me. This was usually in response to continued complaints on my part as to the way I was being unfairly treated in comparison to my brothers and sisters. This is not to say that we should never complain or that the statement itself is always going to be true. Today I tend to think that the real meaning behind such a statement is as simple as, “Stop complaining and make the best of the present situation that you can!”

In the Gospel we hear Jesus telling a Canaanite woman that He cannot help her, as His primary mission is to bring the Gospel to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This answer, however, is no deterrent to the woman and she boldly replies, “but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table!” Here we see the woman making the most of a difficult situation. It is quite clear that Jesus’ main intention is to reach out to the Jewish communities in the area. However, the woman has noticed that many of the Jews are refusing to listen to Him and is therefore emboldened to request that the grace that He is offering them be transferred to her, as she believes in the words that He is speaking and many of the Jews do not.

It is this type of faith and unwillingness to give up in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties that is inspiring to me. In a sense she should not have received the healing of her daughter, as that was not the mission of Jesus. However, through persevering faith she is able to persuade Jesus to change His mind and detour from His path for a moment in order to satisfy her request.

The woman does not complain about the situation being. First she cries out for mercy to announce her presence; she then makes known her request; finally she makes an argument to try to persuade Jesus to change His mind.  She is not going to give up! Jesus sees her faith and answers her prayer.

Do I have the faith of this Canaanite woman when I approach God in prayer? Do I always complain to Him about what I perceive to be the unfair things in my life? Or do I come to Jesus with something in mind and persevere in it until I am satisfied with His answer?

Holy Spirit, increase in me the gift of faith and help me to grow in it each day. Help me to always be positive in the way that I approach prayer and to never lose heart even when it seems my prayers are not answered in the time frame that I want.