Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or 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 in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
A friend once told me that his dad gave him really good advice one time. His dad said, “The worst thing they can say is no.” For my friend, it made sense and it gave him the motivation to just ask for things, realizing that no was as bad as it would get.
You see, for me, hearing no seems pretty bad. I don’t want to hear that my request is denied. So I would prefer to not ask for things because I would rather not know than be turned away empty-handed. It means that the few days I did phone banking in college during election season were nearly torturous. I’ve hated any sales I had to do in elementary and high school because I didn’t want people to tell me they were uninterested in buying something from me. In most situations, I would rather not ask if I think the answer might be no.
Due to circumstances, in the past couple years I’ve been forced to ask for more things. With a slightly new position at work last year, I recognized that unless I asked for things, I wouldn’t get them. The few times I made big petitions for situations I already deemed highly unlikely or impossible were rewarded with a surprising affirmative. Fulfilled requests emboldened me to keep asking, but I still worry that my pleas will be dismissed.
Yet Jesus commands us to ask. He wants us to petition Him for the things we desire. Earlier this week in prayer, I received the passage above, slightly jumbled and incomplete in my brain. The part that stood out was where Jesus compares our heavenly Father to our earthly fathers. Good dads know not to give their children stones or serpents when they are desiring food. Our heavenly Father knows us best and desires the most to fulfill our longings. How much more will He desire to meet our needs when we ask Him, because He is perfect and good.
Thus I am endeavoring to take Jesus up on His offer. If He desires me to ask, I want to ask. The other night, I wrote out a few of my most ardent requests and taped them near the crucifix above my bed. I had considered doing this a while before, but I didn’t think it would matter much so I never took the time to do it. Now I’m realizing this will significantly increase the frequency of presenting these requests to the Lord. Glancing over and seeing the petitions reminds me to persistently ask God for these things to be fulfilled. I see them in the morning when I wake up and in the evening when I return from work. More than ever, these desires are on my mind and in my heart.
The theme I’ve been replaying in my mind for the past few weeks focuses on a couple attributes of God that I find myself needing to bear in mind. He is faithful and He provides. In His time, in His way, He gives all that is necessary. As a child waits on her parents, so I will seek to wait on the Lord. And as a child freely asks for needs and small desires, so I will endeavor to freely make requests of the Lord. Trusting that He will lavish good things upon me because He is my good Father.