This will get uncomfortable for some readers. During the past twelve years I sought direction from God, through prayer, about my purpose. Why? When I entered middle age I yearned for a calling, something to pour myself into before ruinous old age kept me on the sidelines. I received no response to my marathon prayer for purpose. Well-meaning folk in the church often say the Lord hears your prayers and he is in control. Really, that’s it? I already know the Lord hears my supplications, but what I crave is an answer along with an open door, even if the door is opened just a crack.
In Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT) it says, “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.”
This passage might be referring only to the act of salvation or spiritual matters. I’m not sure, but it sounds like it encompasses more. It’s definitely not talking about winning the lottery. But I must admit there are times when I read it and think—that’s cruel! I can think that because I’ve been asking and seeking something spiritually valid (a purpose) for twelve long years without an answer. And let me tell you, the silence of the heavens causes fear. Fear that God doesn’t care. Fear that something is wrong with me, and others are more deserving. Fear that God might not exist and we are utterly on our own.
But then I shake it off and go back to asking, seeking and knocking. Why? Well I don’t have a brilliant answer that will make you go aha! Sometimes I don’t understand why the Bible says a few things that simply don’t seem to happen in real life. But something did come to mind while musing about this. Here it is:
Every parent understands what it’s like to have a child ask for something incessantly over and over. The child thinks they can wear down their parent and get the answer they want by repetitious asking. Can I have a BB gun? No! Can I have a BB gun? No! Can I have a BB gun, pleeeeease? Nooooo! On and on it goes until you are ready to put your child up for adoption. You just want your child to stop asking. But God isn’t like us parents. I don’t completely understand it, but God invites us to keep on asking. I don’t believe God is cruel and likes to string us along. At the very least, by encouraging me to keep on asking, I am forced to choose whether I want to keep coming to God or just walk away from the relationship. If I walk away, I have no hope, and life without hope sounds . . . horrible. Maybe I’d be less troubled if I gave up and stopped asking, but I doubt it.