I don’t like to ask for things. Especially when it is asking for something from a stranger. For example, directions or help from a clerk in a store or asking where the bubbler is when I’m thirsty at a mall. I usually end up asking one of the kids to ask where the latter is because people outside of New England call it a water fountain and my New England pride refuses to call it that when I’m thirsty.
My 15-year-old son won’t ask for anything from a stranger. It is really frustrating for me, but I can’t say he didn’t fall too far from the tree. Asking for something makes us both uncomfortable. I suspect it makes a lot of us uncomfortable. But yet, we have to do it quite a bit in our daily lives.
Jesus instructed us to ask him for help. (Matthew 7:7) It is still something that I rarely want to do because that would mean that I need a Savior, and that’s humbling. I want to be able to do things by myself.
Our daughter, Tullie, rarely asks for anything. She’ll mention being hungry or thirsty or express the desire of wanting to play something in particular, but she doesn’t ask for anything from us. Our other children, on the other hand, say all day long, “Will you buy me _______ (fill in the blank)?” Honestly, it gets exhausting…. but I digress.
A few weeks ago at dinner, Tullie was having a difficult time cutting her pork chop. We saw that she needed help and she would keep looking at us like we should stop what we were doing and help her without her asking for help. So, we let her continue to struggle. She’d keep looking at us with pleading eyes, but we kept eating. Near the end of the meal, Mike said, “Looks like you’re having trouble. You can ask us for help cutting your meat.” But she continued to struggle and eventually she cut a couple of pieces.
Mike said to Tullie after the Meat Cutting Event, “Tullie, you never ask for anything. All of your needs are met. You are a very content kid. If you ask for anything, I will give it to you.” She got a twinkle in her eye and smiled and carried on with what she was doing but yet she didn’t ask for anything. A couple of days later, one of the kids told Tullie, “Ask dad for $20. I bet he won’t give it to you.” Tullie looked at Mike and said, “Can I have $20?” Mike pulled a $20 bill out of his wallet and handed it to Tullie. Tullie took it and held it to her chest. One kid offered to give Tullie $5 if Tullie gave them $10, but she wouldn’t have any of it. She’s a smart cookie.
Tullie still isn’t quick to ask for anything, although we have been putting her is safe situations where she has to ask for help and encouraging her to do so. It’s humbling to ask for help. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your abilities are, we want to do things by ourselves and on our own terms. Be self-sufficient. Be our own savior. If we ask for help it means we need someone else to help and that we cannot possibly do something on our own. If we ask for help it strips us of our independence. Often times, we don’t like looking like we are in need of something.
But we need help. We all do. It doesn’t matter if you are the President of the United States or a dishwasher at a restaurant, our need for a savior is in all of our DNA. Whether that is a big “S” or a little “s” savior, we still need one. Even if it just the lady who pointed me in the direction of the bubbler. But that lady, cannot do anything more for me after her directions, I need someone bigger.
We are in desperate need of a big “S” Savior. And God knew it before the first words of the Bible were written. He knew that he would need to send a Rescuer for us and when he did, he also knew that we would not respond well to his Son.
On the Mount of Olives, Jesus sat and talked with thousands of people. For a really long time. He gave a lot of instructions and people just sat and listened to him. One thing he kindly said, was,
“Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you shall find.” Matthew 7:7
“Just ask. Just ask and I will give you what you need.”
It sounds so easy. It sounds like we can rub the genie out of the bottle and receive the solution to all of our problems. Why is asking so hard to do? Because there are many times that God doesn’t give us what we ask for. There have been months and years when I have not asked for anything because I knew that he wouldn’t give me what I asked for. Having my sons back. Grief being taken away. Instead, I believe he has asked us to endure waking up each morning. And I’m okay with that. Maybe. It depends on the day.
Are our desires and our biggest asks usually the ones to free us from pain and strife? To make our stresses go away? To make our grief go away? So, just asking is…well…hard, because our pain and suffering won’t go away until we are Home.
This is why I believe, the “IT” in that verse is the request for our need for a Savior. We need a Savior and Jesus is IT. When we ask, IT will be given to us. Life. Grace. Peace. Hope. Mercy. What Jesus gives at the expensive cost of his life. “It” was not cheap. Grace is expensive. So is peace, hope, and mercy, but it is available for free when we ask. When we ask of him it doesn’t mean that all of our problems will suddenly fade off into the sunset, but it does mean that he will be with us in the messiness of life lived out.
Take heart. He has overcome the world. John 16:33