What do you dream to be praised for in the future? Do you hope to be called "the best parent in the world" or maybe you want to see your name next a certain award or achievement? Or are you dreaming of the day you are called the best teacherdoctorlawyerCEOlibrarian ever?
Along with hoping to be a great mother, educator, and wife, I aspire to be like the Canaanite woman in the Gospel, and to one day hear the praise: "O woman, how great is your faith." How great is my faith; that piece of my soul that I have nurtured and cultivated for years on end, so that instead of doubting what God has promised and depending on myself, I turn to God with such great faith that God answers my plea with praise.
To cultivate great faith, I need several things. First, I need to find Jesus as the Canaanite woman did. She did not just happen upon Him, she was seeking Jesus so that He could come and help her daughter. It was not by pure chance that she was there, shouting to Jesus for help. She intentionally looked for and found "the Lord, Son of David". No different than the shepherds and kings at the Nativity, we are invited to come to God and to worship.
Secondly, I need to ask Jesus for help. I cannot just rely on God's omnipotence to provide me with the answers I need. Our relationship with God needs to be a conversation in which we ask God for the help we need. We ask not because God would not know otherwise, but because it is a testimony to our faith in God when we ask with confidence that what we seek, we will find as we have been taught in Matthew 7:7-8.
Finally, I must be persistent in my relationship with Jesus. There will be times when God will be silent and not answer, just as Jesus did not answer the woman as she called out to Him. There will also be times when the answer may be no, such as when Job cried out in anguish to God or when Jesus asked for God to take away the burden of His upcoming Crucifixion. Regardless of the answer though, I cannot let my faith falter and I cannot give up in my petitions and prayers to God. It is the woman's persistence and great faith that causes Jesus to stop and save her daughter, despite being sent only for the people of Israel.
We must persist in our faith, even when God is quiet. Even when prayers go unanswered. Only by continuing to practice our faith can we strengthen it; only by persevering in the face of frustration can we improve. When it becomes tough and we still continue, that is when our faith truly grows.