A Greek woman comes to Jesus and asks Him to remove the demon which has possessed her daughter. Jesus tells her that it isn't right to give the children's bread to the dogs. Now, this should have greatly offended her. He was saying that His primary purpose was to the Jews. He said that He would give them their fill before feeding the dogs. Clearly, He was putting her and her daughter in the category of "dogs."
Many people would have been offended with this. They would assume Jesus was looking down on them. They would have thought that calling them dogs would be His way of driving them away.
I see many people who don't want to comply with commands of the Lord. They are offended when their actions are called sins. They are offended when the Bible calls them "sinners." They want a savior who helps them with their troubles and leaves their sins alone. They think that Jesus should be honored that they would pray or come to church. They see Him like Santa Claus at the Mall. He is supposed to be excited they have come and give them whatever they want.
This woman, however, saw herself at Jesus mercy. There was no other solution for her daughter. She loved her daughter too much to be offended by His words. She replied in a practical way. She didn't want to be able to eat at the table of the children. She just wanted the crumbs that the children dropped. This is amazingly humble.
Humility is close to the heart of the Lord. Those who come in humility receive His grace. Those who come in pride receive His opposition. Jesus acted with grace because of her humility and she goes home to find her daughter well.
How would you have responded? Would you have told Jesus where He could go and stomped out?
I think you would have done as this woman has if you loved your daughter enough. I think our desperation in a need would have humbled us so that we could ask no matter how we might be offended.
There are those desperate moments in our lives when we come to the Lord. We have confidence in coming to Him because He has shown us mercy by receiving us as those under His covenant. We come humbled by this fact. We ask boldly by this fact. Our boldness is seen as we continue to ask. We receive gratefully, too.
Many prayers get negative responses because we cannot get beyond our own pride to ask and keep asking. Humility is the missing ingredient in many prayers.
Remember this Greek woman and her daughter. Ask and keep asking. Ask and ask humbly.
Mark 7:28-29 (NIV)
28 "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
29 Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."