THE GOODNESS OF OUR FATHER

THE GOODNESS OF OUR FATHER by  for Servants of Grace

Matthew 7:7-11, ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 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 him!”

Some things Jesus says are hard to believe. It’s not that we don’t want to believe him, and usually, it’s not that we literally don’t believe him. Rather, it’s that due to our experiences, lack of faith, and sin we find it difficult to receive what he’s said and put it into practice.

Perhaps chief among the difficult saying of Jesus are the numerous statements he made on prayer. On the surface, they make sense, but they seem so extreme. For example, here in Matthew 7:7-8 he promises, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

So, here we have three commands and three promises. The commands are easy to understand and put into practice. Ask things of God, seek after God and his blessings, knock on God’s door and do what you must to get his attention. So far so good, but then Jesus adds promises to these commands. He promises that if we ask things of God, he will give what we ask. He promises that if we seek God and his blessings, we will gain them. He promises that if we knock on God’s door, he will open it to us.

On first reading, we may not find these things hard to believe, but as we press into the implications of what Jesus promised in light of our experiences with God, we may find ourselves in a trap of unbelief. We may think of all the times we’ve prayed for something but did not receive it and ask, “Jesus, how can this be true?” We may remember seasons in which we were seeking God but did not feel his presence and ask, “Jesus, how can this be true?” Even now, we may feel like we’re doing what we can to get God’s attention, but he’s not responding and ask, “Jesus, how can this be true?”

When our emotions collide with Jesus’ promises, we must begin by carefully considering his words and then choosing to believe what he has said over what we feel. With this in mind, consider Jesus’ reasoning. “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 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 him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).

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