July 27, 2004 • By Ed Wrather
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" - Luke 11:9-13.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. - 1 John 5:14-15.
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you could almost taste it? Have you thought it was your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4) and that God would surely give it to you? Hasn’t God promised to give you what you ask for and what you desire? The answer is that God will not give you something that will be harmful to you. Just as an earthly father will not give a poisonous snake to a child even though he asks for it - your Heavenly Father will not give you something that is ultimately bad for you either.
It has been said that God always answers prayer and that He answers those prayers with a "yes", "later", or a "no". Most of us have heard Garth Brooks’ song “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers”. However, I do believe that God always answers the prayers of His children and that He has an unlimited number of ways in which He can answer. He will answer prayers with a "yes", "later", or with a "no". He is able to answer "yes" in varying degrees; "later", in varying degrees; and, "no" in varying degrees. God is also able to answer in whatever other way He pleases because after all He is God.
I once had an overwhelming desire to be the pastor of a certain church and I was sure that this was my heart’s desire. I still remember the moment when I went to God in prayer and asked Him to send me to that church. What was God’s answer? His answer was immediate. He spoke in His still small voice, which at the time sounded almost audible and said to me, “I have something better for you.” It wasn’t what I wanted to hear in fact it made me angry with God and it has taken years for me to be able to see that God was right and I was wrong. For me to have become the pastor of the church I so much wanted to be the pastor of would have been like God giving a poisonous snake to a little child. With hindsight, I am convinced that it would have destroyed me.
Now I know that God indeed had something better for me than what I was asking for at the time. Yes, in a way, He said “no” to my prayer but He said much more than “no”. He said, “I have something better for you.” Over the years, I have treasured His promise to me that day being convinced that it would come about and it has been fulfilled many times over. Maybe God has something better for you too?