Ever since my daughter was born 10 years ago this week God has afforded me a glimpse into His character, more so than in the past. I use the word “glimpse” because, if you recall the story from Exodus 33 where God passed by Moses while he hides in the cracks of the rocks, Moses was only allowed to see a part of God’s glory as he passed by. Moses was not allowed to look at God’s face and was even sheltered in the rocks by God’s hand as His glorious presence moved by.
Being the father of a daughter has afforded me a tiny glimpse into God’s holy character.
I recently had the opportunity to send a care package to my daughter in advance of her birthday. Because of divorce, she lives with her mother in another state. For her birthday I bought her a DVD, a cute T-shirt that changes colors in the direct sunlight and one of those recordable books where you can record yourself reading it.
I had no idea how the book would be received, but wanted the opportunity to “read” to her when she wanted since I can’t right now.
She called me on the phone to tell me that she received her presents and was very appreciative of the book. She said it made her cry. Good thing I pulled my big rig over to the side of the road to maintain the cellular phone call because her admission made me cry too.
It also made me recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:9-11, where He says: “You parents — if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask them.”
How much more delighted is God when we are thankful and appreciative of the good gifts He gives us? How much better are those gifts for us than the ones we can give our own children?
This passage comes on the heels of verses 7-8, which read: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. Everyone who seeks finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I like the way the New Living Translation renders this passage with the word “keep,” as in continue to ask… continue to seek… continue to knock. The footnotes to this passage tell us that Jesus here is teaching persistence in prayer, and not the idea that God is some sort of cosmic Jeannie who resides in a bottle that we can rub anytime we want something.
A friend of mine sent me a note that she had in her Bible about this concept. In the note she writes that asking God means to verbalize our requests and concerns, seeking means to search, look and find, and the verb “to knock” means to participate or join with God to go after the prize. What I’ve come to learn that it doesn’t mean is to simply sit back on our sofa and wait for God to somehow beam down blessings from above. Faith, as James writes, requires action on our part.
What this particular passage in Matthew and thoughts God gave me suggests is how much more valuable is God’s love for us than even our love for our children? It reassures me every time I think about something I want, like a new job in an adjacent town to where my daughter lives, or a reliable automobile. How much greater is God’s delight when He gives me something I want or need and I am thankful for it than was my delight when my daughter called to thank me for her birthday presents? All I know is I was walking on clouds the rest of the evening after she called!
If God is perfect, and He is, and He delights in me as His creation, which He does, then doesn’t it follow that my response to His goodness ought to be one of thanksgiving and appreciation?
Meanwhile, I will follow Christ’s advice here and continue to ask, continue to seek and continue to knock; in the meantime I will, as John Waller sings in his song “While I’m Waiting,” continue to serve and worship God while I’m waiting.