Recently God kept bringing up the Bible verse about asking, seeking, and knocking to me. "God, haven't I been doing that for years now? Isn't that all I have been doing?" He, gentle as He always is, corrected me. I found that I've been quickly "praying" for certain areas of my life, which actually looked more like passively mentioning, "Oh hey, God, I know I mention this basically every day, but I just thought I'd cover my bases and mention it again, but here's this thing I'm still desiring, this prayer you haven't answered. Okay, thanks, byeeee!"
Not much of a conversation there. Not much seeking there. Barely any asking there, honestly.
I always struggled to ask for things. I've gotten a lot better the older I've gotten but I can still think back on so many moments in my past and more recently when I was afraid to ask for something. Even with people I love dearly and am close to, I have always found myself rehearsing what I will say/how I will ask for something and have so much anxiety leading up to the moment of asking. I can't pinpoint if it's a pride thing or if it's more of an "I feel like a burden when I ask" kinda thing but it's most likely a combination of both. Thinking back to so many moments of asking or attempting to, I can replay my feeble sounding, quiet voice beating around the bush, hoping the other person would suggest it, till I finally take the jump and ask. And, sadly, I've seen this pattern translate to my relationship with the Lord.
Here's the thing: He is a good Father. He already knows what we desire and already knows every single thought that comes across our minds. He hears our heart-cries and muffled prayers. He is Provider, Healer, Savior... yet, we have such a hard time asking the One who can provide anything at all for even the simplest of things.
"What's the worst that could happen? They could say no? Well, that's not bad then!" I've heard this said over and over again by well-meaning people and I've heard it go off in my head many times, but sometimes I think our dread lies not so much in the answer "no" as it does in our assumption of rejection.
When I was engaged to be married and I felt God urging me to "get out", I remember asking one final time before following through with obedience... "God, do you want me to marry this man?" Me, squeezing my hands and eyes shuts tight, hoping if I think hard enough about having faith that God's answer would be different from what I already knew He was going to say. A resounding "NO" came from Him, I could feel it like a dagger in my gut... "This is not what I have for you, child." What hurt so much in this instance, and it has taken a while for me to understand this, was not just that God told me not to marry this guy I thought was the one for me, but it was mainly that I felt like God has rejected me. I felt like God had put my hopes, dreams, desires on the back burner. I felt forgotten.
Obviously, God was protecting me. Obviously, He has not forgotten me or rejected me. Obviously, He still has good, life-giving plans for me. But somehow, in our minds, we often think that "no" is the equivalent of "I don't love you enough". Huge freaking lie from satan himself.
I say this to encourage you as well as myself today... do not let the "no"s from our Good Heavenly Father make you doubt His unshakable and unchangeable love for you. "No" is for protection. "No" is for "I have something so much better for you." "No" is sometimes simply even, "not right now" or "not in this way". He is God, I mean, He definitely has this whole All-Knowing thing down. So why do we doubt His love when He gives us a big, fat no? And why, even more sad to consider, why do we take the "no"s from Abba as a hint to retreat within ourselves and away from Him? Why do we take it as a cue to stop asking Him for things when He clearly states in His word on multiple occasions to simply ask?
I want to challenge myself, I want to challenge you to challenge our faith. When doubts come creeping into your mind choose to stand on the truth of Who God is, on the truth of His Word, to allow faith to rise up. You can never receive what you don't ask for. So what are we waiting for, friends? He is safe to ask. He adores when we ask. He is always listening and always prepared to answer and give us according to what is the very best for our hearts and lives.
Don't stop asking, don't stop seeking, don't stop knocking. God sees you, hears you, and listens for you constantly. He is not an angry dad hovering over us waiting for us to finally ask for what He knows we want just to give us a grim and solid no. No, He is kind and good. He is a joyful, peaceful Father, watching our every step, every detail of our lives, eagerly awaiting the moment we come to recognition of just how good and kind He is, of just how relentlessly He loves us. Run into His arms, child, wild and free, with all your asking, wondering, and worship, knowing that even the answer "no" from the Father is saturated in His goodness and grace. He is safe to ask, friends.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:7-11