I tell you, ask and you will receive;
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give
good gifts to your children,
Jesus is such a wonderful teacher. He knows that some of us have given up on turning to God. You know. It's the confusion that the prophet Malachi is writing about. The people are noticing that "indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity." Oh, we don't deny God's existence or "lose our faith," but we've "grown up" and don't turn to God "for every little thing" any more.
Some of us have had the experience that we have asked, and asked for some really important things, at times we thought we, or someone we loved, was in real need. And, we didn't receive. I know I asked with all of my being that my mother would survive a broken healthcare system. I could say that she is not with us today, because my prayer was not answered.
Some of us just feel like Charlie Brown in the popular comics strip, "Peanuts." Lucy wants him to kick the ball, and Charlie really wants to kick it. At the last minute, Lucy pulls the ball away and Charlie ends up flat on his back. It happens time after time. Our experience of not getting what we've asked for is just too great for us to try it again.
Jesus really is inviting us to give it another try. And, I imagine Jesus just smiling when we say , "Forget it." He understands our frustration and he so wants to help us. Jesus, the wise teacher, takes us just a little bit deeper. He isn't going to tell me that I've been asking for the wrong things - though, of course, some of the things we've all asked for haven't been the things he's wanted to give us.
What he promises us is that God will give us the Holy Spirit when we ask him. Wow. How many times did it never occur to me to ask for the Holy Spirit! The good teacher is helping me see that in all my seeking and knocking and asking, my learning to ask for the Holy Spirit will always be rewarded. That is the gift God wants to give us. And, it is always what we need. Whether my hunger, anxiety, pain is small or unimaginably great, the Holy Spirit will always give me hope and courage and peace. And, the Holy Spirit will always keep us close to our Lord.
Let's try it next time. Whenever we are in need, and we're tempted not to pray, let's seek, knock, ask for the Holy Spirit.
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