Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”
My kids are great at asking for things. The love to ask for money from the human ATM. They love to ask to stay up late. The love to ask to go to their friends house. The love to ask to go to the movies. They love to ask if my wife and/or I will buy them an item. They love to ask. They love to ask again, and again, and again every time the answer is “No”. If that doesn’t work, they appeal to a higher power, namely their mother. And if that doesn’t work, they will take it to an even higher power, Grandma. Grandma answers and fulfills all requests, especially when they are persistent.
What my kids don’t realize is, that sometimes dear ol Dad isn’t saying no because he’s mean. (Well maybe once in awhile.) No Dad says no because my kid may want something, but that doesn’t mean they need it. They may want a car at the age of 13, but they don’t need one. They may want $100, but they don’t need it. They may want to go to their friends after school, but I maybe don’t want them too because I need them home, cleaned up and ready to leave on a trip or something. Kids want and want, but there are times they may not understand there is just cause and good reason for us to say No.
Today’s Gospel reading comes to us following up on the Lord’s Prayer yesterday. Jesus tells us about the man who has gone to bed and who’s neighbor comes over in the middle of the night banging on the door asking for some bread to feed a friend who probably should have left on his journey a little earlier in the day. Jesus tells us that the nagging friend isn’t going to get his way because of his friendship with the sleepy one. He’s going to get his way out of persistence and wearing his friend down, the same way my dog wears me down with his persistent barking in begging for a treat.
I have tried to repeatedly to wear God down with asking him to win the lottery, especially those big $500 million jackpots. I even make deals with Him saying things like, “OK God, if you let me win this money I’ll feed the hungry, I’ll build a new homeless shelter, I’ll give way more than half to my Church etc. Good and noble things. God still says no. I don’t have a higher power to go to, not even my grandma.
God always answers our prayers, but sometimes His answer is no. He can see in our hearts what we would do with what we ask for. We may think we will do something good and noble with our requests, but God knows how we’d really be. Just as a loving parent sometimes has to say no to their child, God sometimes has to say no to us, even if we are being persistent.
However, as a wise person once said, “When you ask for something from God, you must be very specific, because He may give you what you want, but not in the way you hoped for.” I’ll give you a real example. A few years ago, my wife started praying to God for us to have another kid. Now I had no idea about this at the time. In hindsight it explains a great many things. That being said, God did answer my wife’s prayer about having another child. We were given the opportunity to adopt a little girl. It took a little arm twisting from her and God for me to say yes, but I did say yes and literally overnight I was back into changing diapers and getting up in the middle of the night. Something that I retired from 6 years ago.
Knock on the door, keep asking, God will answer your prayers. They may not be what exactly your expecting, or they may even be no, but God knows better than we do.
Thought for the day: What are the things I have asked God for in my life? Has God answered those prayers in a way other than what I was expecting? Do I look for the answers to my prayers in places and things I wouldn’t necessarily expect?