There are ways in which writers and preachers can say things that sound good, but that fail to touch life where we live it. It’s not that what we say is wrong; it’s just that it’s safe. We found the part we can say that is always true, but we avoided the more difficult questions. That’s what I realized I did with yesterday’s Catch. I chose the safe explanation. I interpreted “Ask” as living in a constant state of dependence on the Lord. And since I know that you can never go wrong depending on the Lord, I solved the problem, but not quite, and certainly not for some people.
There’s a part of “Ask and it will be given to you” that has always troubled me, and I can’t answer it still. What if I ask and it is not given? What if God doesn’t answer me at all, or what if He does, and it wasn’t what I asked for?
Here at the Catch, we talk about “connecting life to faith.” All well and good, but what if that life sucks, and what if all my asking doesn’t change a thing … then what? How do you connect that to faith?
I can think of a couple of people we are praying for on a continual basis who are dealing with chronic pain. They are asking — indeed we are all asking — for relief, and so far none has come. What do you say then? Some of you have been asking for a job, and no matter how hard you try, none has been offered yet. Still others have been asking for God to intervene in a relationship, or bring a loved one to salvation, and so far, no change. How, in light of these disappointments, can you even say these words without being a hypocrite?
Okay, I’m going to venture a possible explanation here, but I will need your help. This answer may be another “safe” way out of the dilemma, so I am asking those of you who are struggling without answers to write me and tell me if you can shed any light on this. If we’re going to connect life to faith, we want to connect it to your life and I’d like you to help us do that.
In another place in the gospels, Jesus asks what earthly father would give his child a stone if he asked for bread, and therefore how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. (Luke 11:11-13) This follows right on the tails of another time He said something to the effect of “Ask and you will receive.” Could this be a clue? What if what we will receive in any case, when we ask, is the Holy Spirit? What would that mean?
So here’s the question: Has anyone been aware of receiving the Holy Spirit when you asked for something even though you may not have received what you specifically asked for? Was it, or was it not, an answer?
We truly are all looking forward to your comments.
I hope you enjoyed following our Gideon Series as much as we did creating it. It’s amazing what God has built into these narratives when you can spend some time unwrapping them. It was exciting to hear some of the stories you told us, as Drew wrote: “Loving this series! And it’s giving me strength to do one of the things I fear most: write and submit an outline to a publisher!”
It’s also been exciting to see some of you come on as new MemberPartners, echoing Gideon’s 300. MemberPartners are the lifeblood of the Catch. There’s still time to help us reach 300. Sign up now! Click on the MemberPartner button in the upper right column.