And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Many discount such tales of exorcism thinking it is a chapter out of a Stephen King novel. Dealing with the devil, unclean spirits and their interaction with human beings is an uncomfortable topic for some. I have heard explanations of passages like this one marked off to mental illness and the existence of evil is marginalized at best. Interesting how many gospel accounts offer stories where Jesus is portrayed as one with authority over evil.
Yet the woman in this story is sure of two things: her child was being tormented by an unclean spirit; Jesus had the power to cast the demon out. She had faith but Jesus seemed unwilling to help her daughter until she argued with him. This interchange helps me to understand how God wants me to sometimes pray. When an answer to prayer seems distant he wants me to persevere in prayer and contend with him in intercession for the need.
Help me Lord to always pray and never give up in the fight against evil.