Originally published Thursday, 18 June 2015.
And I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him... Isaiah 8:17
If you feel like God is hiding His face from you, you are not alone. And it isn’t because He doesn’t like you or any of the other words of doubt that might nip at the contentment of your soul. You are sitting in a precious place of waiting with many of our Father’s dearly beloved children!
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death.
The Lord said that David was a man after His own heart. If even the Man After God’s Own Heart felt like God’s face was at times hard to find, we ought not be surprised when we find ourselves in similar seasons.
A woman followed after Jesus and she also felt like the Lord was hiding His face from her:
And Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman came out from that region, and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed." But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, "Send her away, for she is shouting out after us." But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once. Matthew 15:21-28 NASB
Jesus wasn’t ignoring her or lacking compassion toward her need. He was “setting the stage.” This woman who was an “outsider” to the Jewish faith displayed more belief than the very people who were supposed to have been ready and waiting for Jesus’ coming. In addition, her story prepared the way for the Gospel being preached to those outside the Jewish faith. She was a symbol and foreshadowing of the work God was planning to accomplish among the gentiles. And she was a great example of faith! Jesus’ response to her only allowed the rest of us to see her faith and humility clearly displayed. If He hadn’t responded to her the way He did, we wouldn’t be challenged and inspired by her heart for God.
Her story ought to bring us some encouragement for our prayer lives as well! Like the Canaanite woman we ought not give up, even when it feels like our prayers aren’t being heard or like the Lord is far away. And in the midst of the seasons where we might be tempted to feel like God isn’t hearing or compassionate toward our need, we can to follow the kind of example of humility this woman displayed. She didn’t get angry at Jesus. She didn’t waiver in her faith. She cast herself completely at His feet and trusted Him.
By following her example, we can use her words for our own prayer pattern (the pattern we can use is in normal font and the italicized phrases are her quotes from the passage):
- Ask for mercy - Have mercy on me
- Worship the Lord for who He is - O Lord, Son of David
- Present your need - My daughter is cruelly demon-possessed
- Worship the Lord as you position your heart in humility - But she came and began to bow down before Him saying, "Lord, help me!"
- Be genuinely grateful for however He chooses to work, believing that even His crumbs are precious and sweet. -"Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
From the Man After God’s Own Heart to a Gentile woman from the New Testament we can see that sometimes we are called to wait on the Lord because He is up to something good. When God feels far away it is really hard to wait on Him. It was hard for even the “heroes” of our faith. But we can stand with them, wait for our Lord, and together “let our hearts take courage.”
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14
Join us for more encouragement from the Waiting for God series at www.MotlMinistries.org.