And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:9-13)
In our “Journey into Scripture” today, we see the master and the apostles and they are discussing prayer. I go closer to them and listen. The master says, “Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. (11:9) For the one who asks always receives; and the one who searches always finds, the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.” (11:10)
I look at the master and say, “I am in doubt. There are many things that I have asked in your holy name but not received. Yet you have said, ‘He who asks always receives.’ Will you explain this to me?” The master looks up at me and says, “When you ask the Father in my name, you must first ask for everything that is for your good. And sometimes because your sight is limited you ask for things that seem to receive no answer, as if all of Heaven is closed to your prayer. In your finite mind you believe if you have this one thing, all else will be well. But the Father’s one desire is to have you as close to him in Heaven, as possible. Sometimes he says no, but even in that no you have received an answer to your prayer. Your prayer should always be for the good of the kingdom and for your love.
“As a child you must have unbounded confidence in God’s wisdom and know that when you pray for your good and for the good of the kingdom on Earth — you always receive an answer.”
I understand that now. I used to think that the answer had to be the one that I wanted. But perhaps God says no to determine how much I love him — to bring out from the depths of my soul a love and a confidence that is so great that it will increase my glory in Heaven and give courage to my neighbor. In adversity and tribulation we prove that we are disciples by holding firm.
The master goes on and says: “When you search you always find.” I ask him, “What does it mean to seek thee? You are invisible and I cannot touch you. When I look, I do not see you.” And he says, “To seek me is to look for me as you would look for a friend or a loved one. To seek me out in the daily duties of your life, to seek me in joy and sorrow, honor and dishonor, and in everything that life gives you moment to moment — to find good and to find God; to seek him in everything. For those who love God all things tend to good.” I now realize that I have not sought God in this way. In adversity and pain and sorrow it is so hard to find him, perhaps because I have not sought him in these things. Then I remember that Jesus sought the Father in every occurrence in his life — in the ingratitude of the healed lepers who never said, thank you, in the malice and the jealousy of those who should have loved him.
Then the master goes on, “What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? (11:11) If you who are evil know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (11:13)
I suddenly realize that my concept of what is good for me and God’s understanding and wisdom of what is good for me are different. I have not been a child who has trusted the Father. I have considered my wisdom superior to his, as if I know what is best for me. But I do not see tomorrow the way he sees tomorrow. I must have confidence in his wisdom and then every time I ask I shall receive, and every time I seek I shall find, and every time I knock he will come and rest in me.