“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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!” (verses 7-11)
(Here are some further reflections from our house-selling crisis three and a half years ago):
Wow. These are such familiar words, but they leap off the page for me this morning, speaking afresh. We’re in the midst of a season of prayer, a pressing issue (the sale of our house) weighing on our hearts and minds. There is a very specific answer we have in mind to resolve the tension – sale, this week! But even before coming to these verses this morning, I was telling the Lord I choose to submit to his leadership, following him into what unfolds, even if the specific answer we’ve envisioned doesn’t happen.
I then read these words this morning in a different light. What if they speak of the adventure of the journey and discovery, more than I’d realized? Not so much pushing-the-button-and-getting-the-answer, but asking, seeking, knocking and being led into a good gift, a discovery, that I hadn’t fully anticipated, but meets the need, and more.
This adventure, which may take more time than I’d expected, is securely in the hands of the Father who loves me, who will not leave me abandoned or ignored, who will not brush aside my need, but will in fact give me a bona fide “good gift.” (I’ve often noted that the parallel passage in Luke speaks specifically of the gift of the Holy Spirit, the specificity so often raising joy in my heart. But this morning, I am so thankful here for the generality of the promise – my need today is fully embraced.)
So, Lord, I will continue to ask for the answer I have in mind, yet submitting myself to your leadership on the journey, trusting in your unfailing goodness and love, believing that whatever it is I receive, whenever I receive it, will be your good gift to me, expressing your Father-care. The door that opens may reveal something entirely unexpected, a surprising discovery – but it will be good. Indeed.
(Postscript, Fall 2022): The asking, seeking, and knocking definitely became more of an adventure than I’d ever anticipated. The answer didn’t come nearly as quickly as I wanted, but the ensuing adventure was good. The Lord provided as we found ourselves unexpectedly operating an AirBNB to survive. Our house eventually sold, but meanwhile we watched as his provision unfolded in his own time, rather than our own. Now, three and a half years later, I am so thankful for the memory and the learning and the stretching that resulted. Our God is faithful. He gives good gifts to those who ask.
Reflect: What personal prayer weighs on your mind most heavily at the moment? Re-commit to praying it afresh, viewing it as a journey of discovery with the Father, however long it takes.