[From November 30, 2015]
"So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you..."
Most of us have no problem knowing what we want. From fantasizing what we'd ask for if we ever found a Genie in a bottle ("no wishing for more wishes!") to our "wish list" on Amazon or iTunes, we know what we want. Which might be why we have such a love/hate relationship with Luke 11:9. It's the "Ask/Seek/Knock" passage of Jesus.
We want to believe that all we need to do is ASK God, and our requests ("prayers") will be granted. And yet, anyone who's ever prayed knows that's not always true. "Maybe you didn't ask for the right things" we posit... or "maybe it wasn't prayed 'in Jesus' Name'?"
(NOTE: I've always believe the Seek/Find part of this verse, by the way. God doesn't 'hide' from us. We wander away from God. God spends our lifetime drawing close to us... wooing us... compelling us to turn to Him! Once we put the effort in, God is easily "found." So that part never bothered me. Now, back to the troubling part...)
But I noticed something today in v.13. Two verses prior, Jesus reminds us that we, as human parents, give our children what they need (bread, fish, eggs), not surprisingly bad & inappropriate gifts (like stones, snakes, or scorpions!). Then he concludes with: "...How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."
So Jesus doesn't promise that if we just ask, God will give us whatever we want (or ask for). No, he promises we will receive. What? THE HOLY SPIRIT! God's self. The presence of God with us here and now. SO we may want peace, healing, a job, restoration of a relationship, financial security, better housing, recognition, etc. But God promises to give us Himself, if only we'll ask for help. Who knows, maybe the job, healing, restoration, or money we're asking for might actually be a stone, snake or scorpion to us!?! Our loving Father knows what we truly need... and that's His Spirit.
So go ahead and ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK, friends! Be bold! No Shame! But don't be surprised if you don't get exactly what you ask for. You might just get something infinitely better - the presence of God Himself!!! AMEN.