“But He did not answer her a word.” Scary words. Worrisome words. But they describe a phenomenon that many Christians have experienced throughout history: the dark night of the soul. Maybe you’ve experienced it too. You cry out, you plead, you are desperate, but the gates of heaven seem closed. That peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) evades you. Could it be that God is doing this deliberately? He does here! By not responding immediately, and by challenging her, Jesus tests her faith to see if she’ll persevere, and He elicits a greater testimony from her. So, when we find something similar happening in our lives, we can rest assured that God has a purpose in mind.
Didn’t we just read about a miraculous feeding? Yes we did, and it seems that the disciples didn’t learn anything from the first one! Why does Matthew include two? Well, it does remind us that Jesus can provide, but, more than that, I think that he records the disciples being dense for a reason. It gives us hope! When we’re slow to learn important spiritual lessons in our lives, God gives us the opportunity again. And perhaps we do see some progress here. They go from, “send the crowds away,” to “where can we get enough bread.” But note that Jesus prompts them for that – they don’t come to Him because of their own compassion for the crowd. That’s why I think that they are being dense, but at least we see a glimmer of growth by their response. May we experience those same glimmers in our own lives!