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.
Jesus tells us that our Father in Heaven is good. As a good Father, He loves us and provides for us. But God is also an affectionate Father. He not only loves us, He delights in us. “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
This verse brings to mind the image of a new dad singing over his little baby.
We reflect God when we, though sinful people, lovingly provide for and delight in our children. As a parent, I love to give gifts to my children. The delight on my three-year-old’s face when I give him a new train is wonderful. Or the giggles of my one-year-old when he gets a new ball. Just as we enjoy our children, so God delights in us. And out of His goodness and love, He gives us good gifts.
But we can’t deny that sometimes God doesn’t give us what we pray for. This can feel like God is withholding something good from us. It can lead us to believe that He does not truly love us. However, we must hold on to the truth that God is good.
Timothy Keller puts it this way: “God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything he knew. More than that however, we know as we pray for good things that we already have the ultimate good thing. In God himself we have the headwaters and source of all we desire, even if one of the tributaries of our joy, something in this world that we love, goes dry” (Prayer: Experiencing Intimacy with God, p. 228).
Questions for reflection and discussion: What are some good gifts that God has given you? Have you prayed for something that God has withheld? How has that impacted your faith?
This week's devotions were written by Beatrice Schoenrock. Beatrice attends Wheaton Bible Church with her husband, Luke. Beatrice has worked at Christianity Today and the Wade Center at Wheaton College. These days she spends most of her time wrangling their two energetic toddlers.