We have reached the point in Jesus’ teaching about asking, seeking, and knocking on God’s heart. I want to start off by saying that Jesus is NOT giving a recipe for getting anything you want from God. God knows what we need, what we want, and what is best for each of us. He chooses best. He promises to meet our needs, but He doesn’t promise we can have everything we want.
This morning I have been working on getting my burn pit going. It is over 6 feet tall and filled with branches cut from our two apple trees and one pear tree during pruning a few months ago. The wood in the branches is still green, so as you can imagine, I am having a HARD time getting them to burn. When I first went out there this morning, I placed all my cardboard kindling around the fire and lit it. While I was doing this I decided to ask God to help me with this fire, like He did with Elijah on Mt. Carmel. After doing this I remembered today’s study was about asking. I thought it was a pretty cool that both things happened to coincide on the same day. I even shared that I had prayed with my husband and told him the story about the great battle between the prophets of Baal and Elijah.
Guess what. It didn’t stay lit. I tried again. I even went so far as to take BURNING logs out of my wood stove in the house and dump them onto the pile of branches in the pit! Can we say DANGEROUS and THANK YOU GOD for protecting me from my own stupidity! I also asked Him for His help in keeping the fire going every time I relit it. We are now on the 4th time I have lit the fire and it seems to be burning in at least one spot.
Coming from the “faith movement” and the “name it and claim it” background I felt guilty every time I looked back outside to check and see if the fire was still going. I also felt like I was putting God to the test with my prayers.
Let’s look at my asking. Was what I was asking possible for God to do? OH YES! He could have consumed my whole pile in the blink of an eye. Was what I was asking a reasonable request? I don’t know. If He did what I had asked during my first prayer (I asked that He consume all the materials in and around the pit with no damage to the grass right next to it) it would have taken a miracle. God can do miracles but did He need to do one today just so I could have something special to write about? Not really. Did I ask earnestly expecting and for a real need? Not really. I didn’t do much more that simply asking as I was going about the task. I did talk to Him about the story and what I would like to see, but I didn’t seek His input into the situation and I didn’t REALLY need for Him to move miraculously on my behalf. I also would probably have started saying, “Look at me! Isn’t my faith great!” NOT what I should be doing or what He wanted to have happen.
So what did I do instead? I kept asking. I asked a different question though. I asked what do You want me to do now? How am I supposed to finish this task set before me? He opened my eyes to other options available for starting my fire. He protected me while I tried my own DANGEROUS ideas. He sent my husband with other ideas. He let me know that even if He doesn’t answer all our requests just like we wanted them done, that He still listens to them and answers them how He knows is best. I can just imagine how my local fire department and my neighbors would have reacted if He answered how I initially asked.
So ask, and keep asking. You won’t always get what you want but you will be heard and you will get what you need. Seek, and keep seeking. Have you ever noticed how when you are looking for something you quite often find other valuable things during the search? God often works this same scenario out when we seek Him. Knock, and keep knocking. He WILL answer. It may not be as soon as you want. It may not be the same door you were hoping would open. You may even get sore knuckles or knees (as in hitting the floor in prayer). But He does here and He will open the BEST door at the PERFECT time.
Jesus promised that God loves us and that He will give to us what we need. “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 of Him!” (verse 11). Note here that Jesus said God will give “good things”, not whatever we want. Also that God gives these things to His children. God sends the sun and rain to even the unjust, but He delights in giving the best gifts to those who have been adopted by Him into His family.
Thank You God that You adopted me. That I can come to You with all my needs. That You even listen to my outlandish wants. And that You know what is best for me and don’t give in when I whine and throw a fit for something that is not best for me. You know I have done just that before too. Forgive me for ever doubting that You would meet my needs and for every time I accused You of moving too slow. You know today, tomorrow, and every day after that. I trust You to know when it is time for my answers to the questions, or the knocking, or my search to be done. Thank You for just reminding me that my ultimate searching, asking, and knocking will never be over but that You provide open doors, answered questions, and uncovered treasures all the way home. Thank You for giving me Your best, ant that You always give me what You have that is best for my life.
BTW, that song, “it only takes a spark to get a fire going” is a big LIE! At least that line of the song is for me today.