When God seems harsh to us
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” (Mt 15,26) These words of Christ certainly must have sounded harsh to the Canaanite woman who begged him to cure her daughter who was tormented by a demon. But instead of being turned off, she persisted in her request.
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” And that’s when Christ said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour. (Mt 15,27-28)
Sometimes God tests our faith if only to purify and strengthen it. We should just persist in going to him even if he seems to reject us. With God we should not be afraid or ashamed. He always cares for us.
This should be the attitude to have. It’s an attitude that can only indicate our unconditional faith and love for God who is always in control of things, and at the same time can also leave us in peace and joy even at the worst of the possibilities.
We have to follow the example of the many characters in the gospel who, feeling helpless in the many predicaments they were in, earnestly rushed to Christ for some succor. They went to him unafraid and unashamed and they got what they wanted.
It may happen that we may not get what we want. And in this, we should not be too surprised or too worried. What is sure is that God always listens and gives us what is best for us.
If our request is granted, it’s because it is good for us. If our request is not granted, it could be because what we asked is actually not good for us. Examples of this kind of cases are aplenty, and many would later on realize how lucky they were that what they asked for was not granted.
We should not forget that God will always listen to us and will act on our requests promptly and in the best way for us, considering both our immediate and the ultimate needs, and no matter how imperfect the object, motives and manner of our petitions are.
Remember the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge narrated in the gospel of St. Luke, chapter 8. The conclusion of that parable is the following lesson we should learn at heart:
“Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off.?” (7)
This lesson is reiterated in the gospel of St. Matthew where Christ said: “What man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (7,9-11)
We should therefore have no fear or shame in going to God for all our needs. We should persist in our requests even if he appears to be harsh to us or even to reject us. His heart will give in with our persistence!