“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7–8
Today as I write this post my family is entering into the fourth day of a heart breaking ordeal we never thought we’d have to go through. My aunt, who has Alzheimer’s, wandered off in the late afternoon three days ago. To add further trauma to an already traumatic situation several tornados went through the town she lives in destroying homes, tearing up trees, and wreaking all kinds of destruction.
My uncle began looking for my aunt within ten or fifteen minutes of her wandering off, my cousin, their daughter joined him a short time later and they’ve hardly stopped searching since they began. Police have helped. Yesterday a large group went out canvassing the area. Thousands have united in prayer seeking God for her safe return.
It’s easy in the face of the continued delay in my aunts recovery to wonder where God is and to ask why he hasn’t kept his promise. Our focus text seems pretty clear. Ask, seek and knock and God will answer with the good gift you’ve requested. The thing is that the passage is a little deeper than might be apparent in its English translation.
The tense of the verbs ask, seek, and knock in the Greek language they were originally written in is the present continuous tense. Most accurately they ought to be translated “ask and keep asking,” “seek and keep seeking,” “knock and keep knocking.”
It’s easy with a shallow, presumptuous, selfish faith to carelessly toss our prayers at God making requests of him, knowing that he’s well able to provide but not truly appreciating and in fact not truly valuing the enormity of the gift we’ve received when we’re given what we’ve asked for. We wander through our days often so far distanced from God and so deeply engrossed in our daily activities that we’re senseless and oblivious to God’s prompting as he attempts to lead us in a better path.
C. S. Lewis wrote that it’s in our pain that God is shouting at us.
O God forgive us for being so neglectful of listening to you. Forgive us for taking you and your care for us for granted. Forgive us for expecting you to focus your every care upon us when we give so little care for you and the effort you give everyday as you care for us. Forgive us for making you have to shout to make yourself heard.
Jesus calls us to a faith that asks and asks and asks, seeks and seeks and seeks, and knocks and knocks and knocks. We’re called to a persistent faith, a durable faith. One that as it’s lived in this sin saturated world doesn’t shrink in the face of hardship or heartbreak. A faith that trusts in God to work to the uttermost to save. A faith that recognizes that every moment God is working to bring billions of his children who are lost in sin home to him. A Faith that trusts that he won’t neglect to bring my Aunt home as well.