What happens when we break faith; when we distrust God? We’ll see in a moment. In the Gospel reading today we see the story of a woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer. A Canaanite woman begs Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus replies, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman persists. And her persistence pays off.
God told the children of Israel that he would give them the promised land. When they got right to the edge, God tells Moses and Aaron to send twelve men in to assess the situation. They return after forty days. Ten of the men convince the whole nation that it is impossible to take the land. Only Caleb and Joshua believed that God would remain faithful to his promise and win the battle for them. All the rest of the people broke faith. God was not pleased, and for their punishment God made them wander another forty years in the desert, so that none of them would be alive when the promised land became theirs.
I believe there are two important lessons here. First, actions have consequences. When we do wrong things, there must be punishment involved. Otherwise we would never learn a lesson. God was acting as a Father. Even in punishing them, he still loved his children. Second, the people’s fears became bigger than God. God made them a promise, but they let their fears take over. We must always remember that God is bigger than any of our fears. It reminds me of the old saying, If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.
Father, forgive us for those times when we, too, break faith. Help us to remember that your word is always good, and that you can overcome anything we are afraid of. Amen.