[Jesus said,] “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
For most of my life, I have understood these words of Jesus in this way: I can go to God and ask for whatever I want and he has promised to give it to me. I could ask for a shiny red sports car, or a great job where I make lots of money, or a fantastic relationship with a wonderful person – whatever it was, all I had to do was ask, seek and knock and what I wanted would be mine.
More recently, I have realized that I have been making some assumptions with that way of thinking. I have been assuming that I know what I want and that what I want is good both for me and those around me.
But the truth is that I don’t really know what I want. With some things, what I want changes from day to day. With other things, when my desires are fulfilled, they seem empty or even sour. I have no idea what I really, really want.
A second, equally unsettling, truth is that I do not know what is really good for me and those around me. For most of my life, I have thought that having lots of money would be good for me and my family. It turns out that what is actually good for me and my family is not having lots of money because it helps us to trust in Jesus more and follow his guidance about money, and then he helps us to better manage the money that he gives us. I don’t like to admit it, but I don’t really know what is good for me and others.
So how do we ask when we don’t know what we really want and we don’t know what is really good? We turn to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for he is truly good and great. God is truly good. His holiness and purity are unassailable. And because he is one God in a community of three persons, God has always been orientated towards sharing his goodness with others. God only wants what is best for you and me. And because of his greatness, the all-powerful God of the universe has the means to bring about the best possible outcome for us, in his way, in his time.
You see, what we really, really want is God. And the Good News of the Gospel message is that God has given himself to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Through his perfect life lived and the horrible death he died on our behalf, Jesus has opened the door for us sinners to have a personal, intimate relationship with the holy and powerful, one, true God who loves us.
So we come to God and we ask, seek and knock, knowing that God has already opened up the door of heaven for us and given us the greatest gift one could ever receive. And we have already found that gift in Jesus.
So we bring our needs and desires to Jesus, knowing that they are secondary. In Jesus, we already have Emmanuel, God-with-us, and he really is the greatest gift of all. He knows us better than we know ourselves, so he knows what we really, really want. He is generous with his infinite goodness and so we trust that he will make all things work out for our good.
Jesus really is the greatest gift of all.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, by your Holy Spirit, help me to come to you and ask for whatever you have laid on my heart. As I ask, help me to know that you love me and you will give me whatever is best at the right time. When things don’t work out like I expect, help me to trust you, your goodness and your love for me and others. Amen.