Ask, Seek, Knock
ASK, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU; SEEK, AND YOU WILL FIND; KNOCK, AND IT WILL BE OPENED TO YOU.”
Imagine this: your friend calls you and invites you over to dinner, telling you to bring whatever you have to contribute to the meal. You show up at the appointed time, knock on the door with your bag of chips in hand, and the door opens. Instead of your friend standing in the doorway, there is a crockpot meal of enchilada soup on the doormat.
Enchilada soup is wonderful, but having soup with your friend was the whole point of showing up and knocking on the door. You really don’t care about the soup that much, because you care about spending time with your friend more (unless you are super obsessed with enchilada soup).
I thought about that hypothetical situation as I was meditating on this verse. I get the “ask” part of the verse, but I’m not totally there with the seeking and knocking part.
This ESV Bible commentary helps illuminate some of my confusion:
Ask: Disciples should come to God in humility and conscious of need.
Seek: Connects one’s prayer with responsible action in pursuing the will of God.
Knock: Suggests perseverance. I know how to ask God for what I think I want or need, but then leave it to him and get frustrated when I don’t hear an answer. God tells us not only to ask, but to seek him, and as the commentary above suggests, to take responsible action in pursuing the will of God. God wants us to take an active part in prayer and seeking his will, in seeking his kingdom. He wants us not only to ask ““Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38), he wants us to seek him like Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5) and be as persistent as this widow:
“He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, “Give me justice against my adversary.” For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”‘ And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?'”
He wants us to ask, seek, and to knock on closed doors. Asking is humbling, seeking takes patience, and knocking is vulnerable. Thankfully, God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Just like the enchilada soup story, Jesus invites us to spend time with him. Just because a door is closed does not mean it needs to stay closed. We can knock on that door and be sure to receive the Lord’s presence. We may not get the answer or thing we were looking for, but God’s presence is more than enough to satisfy every desire of our heart. C.S. Lewis said, “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” Job found out the hard way that what he really needed was why h was suffering, but to hear from the Lord and be humbled before him (Job 42:6).
Jesus wants us to ask in his name and in accordance with the God’s will, he wants us to seek him. He wants us to knock because he has already invited us. God will always show up, it just may not be the time or way that we expect. Is there something in your life for which you need to ask, seek, and knock? Be bold in prayer, because God is a good father and wants to give us good things. He wants to give us himself.