Matthew 7:7-12

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Ask

I forget who I am.  I shouldn’t get too big for my boots.  I wouldn’t worry what people think about me, if I only knew how little they thought about me.  No-one is going to stop their horse galloping to look at me.  Who am I to ask anything of God?  Who am I to turn elsewhere?  I don’t think that The Father would want to listen to me, Jesus.  I think he is preoccupied with saving the world from radical Islam, financial ruin, and nuclear war.  I have asked before, but I asked with the wrong motives and I didn’t receive.

This one is hard for me, Jesus.  What do I want?  I would like joy.  I would like to be free from worry and doubt.  It feels too much to ask for it all at once.  Just more moments like the moment I had on Saturday.  I touched joy in a deeper way as I drove my children to Costco to do the shopping.  I was grateful for them, I was connecting more with my wife.  I saw hope.  Can I have more of that?  I see the Father being annoyed with this request.  I see Him ignoring it.  I have a false view of one who would give a snake when I ask for a fish.  He would laugh and think it’s funny.  I know I am not alone in this misconception.  Depeche Mode used to sing, “I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours, but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour. And when I die I expect to find him laughing.”

Yet where should I go?  On the one side I know that the Father gives good gifts to his children.  On the other side I have too low a view of my place in God’s kingdom.  Jesus, I know that you have paid the price for me to be a son.  As a child, I present this request to God:  Father, I want to be healed from worry and self-doubt so that it doesn’t cause me to think about myself.  I want to be free of the things that hurt and cause me to take my eyes off of you and try and fix myself.  Even in any emotional isolation or pain, help me to find joy and peace in you.  In spite of circumstances help me to find joy.  I am meditating on the joy of the Lord being my strength.  I know that when I sense your joy I feel like I can attempt any task you set before me.  Without it, I am a child cowering in the corner, afraid that if I ask my Father for bread He will give me a stone.”

I sound like the one who buried his talent.  I have a heinous misconception of God.  I paint my loving Father as if he were a tyrant.  I am so sorry.  I’d like to blame someone else for the misconception.  Shift the blame.  Ultimately, though, it is my misconception.  I just want to be free from it.  Here is another request:  “Help me to see you as Abba, Father.  Help me to see you as kind, gentle, and patient.  I don’t really see you that way.  I don’t see you as present or nurturing.  I see your Son Jesus more that way, you, Father are harder to relate to.”

So, I have asked, sought, and knocked.  Let’s see if I really get snakes and stones.

Questions

  1. How are mankind and God contrasted in their natures?
  2. Why might Jesus’ audience not have asked God for things?
  3. What examples does Jesus give of things asked for?
  4. What do you need or want?
  5. Have you asked God about these things?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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