The Syrophoenician Woman: Tenacious Faith
Today's article is another installment in Sister Alena's series on "Women of the Bible."
Like all of the women I’ve written about so far, this story has a ton to unpack — a pattern, I think, no? This Gentile woman’s daughter is demon possessed, and this mother is exhausted. She’s tired of everything that comes along with such an affliction, and she decides to approach Jesus as He passes through her area.
You can read the verses in Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30, but her daughter is healed because of her quick answers and great faith.
A lot of people would call her desperate. She was so tired and so in need of a change in her and her daughter’s life.
But after reading through this a few times, I saw this as a tenacious faith. Tenacity is the quality of being able to grip something firmly, meaning that this woman grabbed hold of what Jesus could do for her and held fast.
In this moment, her faith was steady; it was sure; it was strong.
This sort of tenacity is something incredibly admirable when talking about faith, because this doesn’t imply just holding on, but fighting for it.
For some, faith comes more easily than others.
For some, faith comes in the battles in the trenches.
This tenacity of faith means that you’ll last; it means that you will fight for what you love and will advocate for it.
I think a lot of times, we strive to be this person who has an “easy” faith, where it seems almost...natural.
But there’s value in this tenacity, in this fight for our faith.
There’s value in defending it and speaking up. There’s value in being quick and using our wit, and this woman shows it.
This woman is quick to answer Jesus, and she’s quick to say that her daughter needs Him, that she herself needs Him, and her tenacity works: her daughter is healed.
Hebrews 4:16 calls upon us to approach the throne of grace boldly, that we are strong in our asks, and this woman does just that. She knows what she needs and is tenacious in Jesus’ power and is bold in her ask of Him.
That grace, that space where the Lord allows us to come to Him directly and quickly, is so evident in this story that this woman was able to approach Jesus just by walking outside.
In the midst of this woman’s mess, Jesus is there. I am a very emotional person, and when I am short-tempered and angry or broken and upset, God is with me.
God is always there for each and every one of us, walking beside us even when we want to run ahead alone. Life is hard, ever-changing, complicated, and so incredibly complex. But through all of that, Jesus is literally right there. He is literally right outside in the street, ready to be spoken to, just like in this story. In the midst of our mess and hectic life, Jesus is there.
Image credit: "The Woman of Canaan" by Michael Angelo Immenraet, 17th century
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.