“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (NRSV)
“Ask,” “search,” “knock.” It would be impossible to count how many times in my life that I have wanted things to work in a certain way, and it didn’t happen. Happily, I really think, now with (20/20) hindsight, that my life not only would be very different but most likely a mess had things turned out the way I thought I wanted!
This scripture reminds me of my own experience. Does God answer prayer? Absolutely! But it is also absolutely true that sometimes the answer to prayer is “no” or “wait awhile.” Those who know me well have undoubtedly heard me say, “If you don’t ask, the answer is already no.” This scripture is not a formula for magic that will immediately grant our requests or solve our issues. Instead, we pray, search, and knock, trusting God’s wisdom and timing in the granting of grace–and also remembering that an answer of “no” may well open other doors and result in changing our lives in a positive way.
Prayer: God, we’re more than grateful for your grace and love and wisdom. But thank you, also, for the open dialogue for us to ask and receive; and help us to remember that even when your answer is “no,” you have indeed answered our prayers. Amen.
Scripture quotations except as noted are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.