Date: Thursday, Mar 2
Contributor: Mike Sirany
“Ask, and it will be given you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. To everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake?...”
The second part of this I have always liked, believing that God would not give us anything that would be harmful, just as I would not always give everything to my children that they asked for or wanted. I am often amused by the whiney four year old in the checkout lane begging and pleading with mom or dad for one or more of the items on the display ahead of the register. I am also a bit annoyed when a parent ends up giving in to something clearly not in the child’s best interest, often times to quiet them (or maybe the parent believes it shows the child love?) I suspect God does a better job with us!
And this latter part also contradicts that often over-quoted and poor theological advice “Be careful what you ask for from God, you may get it!” As if God will grant our selfish or harmful request to teach a lesson, even if it harms us. That is not love, at least in my understanding.
The asking and promise of receiving I find more problematic. Really? If I ask, I get it from God? “OK God, could we have world peace now, no hunger, no greed, injustice or hate???” I don’t think those are bad or selfish things to ask for, but I am not convinced that is all it takes to change the world.
Two insights into understanding this passage more deeply have helped me accept the asking part, without expecting an immediate affirmative response.
These two insights have been useful to change my attitude towards this part of the passage from one of skepticism, to one of encouragement to keep asking, keep praying, and above all, remaining open to an intimate relationship with God.