“Then he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.” Then he will reply from inside, “Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though the man inside will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of the first man’s sheer persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs” (Luke 11:5-8 NET).
How many of us have friends like the one Jesus talked about? Or, maybe more personally, how many of us are like the man who was already in bed when his friend came to knock on his door? He really didn’t want to have to get back up to find some bread to give to his friend. But he seems to have realized that his friend wouldn’t go away unless he did get up and give him what he needed to meet his needs.
Have you been awakened in the middle of the night with someone at your door? Has the telephone woken you up? When we answer it, I’m sure we would rather still be asleep! I heard about a man who was awakened from sleep, answered the phone, and was asked, “Did I wake you up?” To which he replied, “No, I had to answer the phone anyway.”
I hope when we are woken in the middle of the night and it is a friend in need that we are there to help them. People have helped me in this situation and have been a real friend. But this isn’t Jesus’ point, as good as that might be. Notice what Jesus went on to say.
“So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13).
Jesus’ point is that God is not like our friends. He is always there, ready to help when we ask, seek, or knock. Unlike our friends in the middle of the night, God wants to help those who are his children and ask him for what they need.
Are we fearful to ask God for those things that concern us most? Do we pray in general terms but never get around to asking for what is really important? I heard a Christian once say that he never asks God for anything – he would just tell God the problem and let God figure out what to do. Although that might sound “spiritual” it is the opposite of what Jesus said we are to do.
Our children ask us for what they want (although sometimes they may not need it). When they ask, as parents we try to fulfill their request. We definitely don’t give them something that would be harmful to them. We do this because we love them.
God loves us and wants the best for us. Are we asking him for what we need most?
Readings for next week:
12 February – Luke 8:26-56
13 February – Luke 9:1-27
14 February – Luke 9:28-62
15 February – Luke 10
16 February – Luke 11:1-28