“9 And I tell you, “ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10, ESV
I was shopping on a recent trip out-of-state to see my daughter and met a man working at the store who had gone through some pretty tough times; his health was compromised and as a result he lost a career position that was precious to him. He’s divorced and is struggling to raise his daughter. He divulged these private matters to me in what seemed to be casual conversation. Perhaps, he needed to unload on someone who was willing to listen. I was shopping but had no restraints on my time.
As I listened, I thought about how to respond. The Spirit implored me to respond as a Pastor and not just as a transient customer. I must state that even though I am an active Pastor, I am not akin to always having “Gods answer” to all things, as some Pastors and Christians are inclined to do. My approach is to know “when I am needed” and then let the Spirit and God’s word find its eloquence in me.
People who purport to speak the word of God in every situation aren’t necessarily sincere. They often believe that God would be pleased if they “preached” all the time. I say first, God is not impressed by obligatory praise and practice. Second, if you do speak, do so with a genuine heart and sincerity, instead of merely spewing empty doctrine all the time. People will more often listen when they sense your heart-felt intentions, instead of being deaf to the noise of shallow talk.
I told this man who I was and made it clear to him that I am not in the habit of discussing everything in the light of God, but at this moment, I was compelled to. He nodded his approval to hear what I had to say. I asked him about his faith. He said he had “some”, but it is now challenged by his misfortune. In so many words he said, “why me?” He knew he was a good person with “some faith,” so he wondered why he was stricken with such bad luck.
His story is one we all share in one way or another. Every human being has moments like this in varying degrees, for different reasons and at different stages of our lives.
What finally struck me was when he talked about all the things he still wanted to do with his life, but has given up on because of his health, lack of finances, and his belief that his luck had run out. I could feel his weakened emotional and spiritual state, but also his yearning. He was now coasting through life, hoping to do more, but really expecting for it to only get worse, or at best, stay the same.
My only thought was “why give up?”
Remember this, the enemy’s goal is to take each one of us out, some instantly, but most of us during a long period by which our faith gets stripped away from us, until we become without the Spirit, and live an empty life of chance on earth.
“11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of giving him a fish give him a serpent; 12 or he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” – Luke 11:11-12, ESV
Joel Osteen is a famous Pastor whose repeated message is about deep and profound faith in Christ, unwavering connection to God and triumph over the enemy’s attempts at taking our souls. Pastor Osteen has little tolerance for self-pity. He eloquently, and rightfully, preaches that self-pity is one of the enemy’s tactics. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and doubt, he instructs us to dig deep into our faith and ask for what we want, knowing that by being a child of God, we will be taken care of.
He often uses the word “declare”, which means to “formally, officially, or emphatically” state your position. In this man’s case, he needs to declare that he will get well. Declare that he will have a great relationship with his daughter. Declare that he will accomplish his goals. And on and on with no limits, because our God has no limits to His love or to His power.
Pastor Osteen’s mother, Dodie Osteen, had terminal cancer with only weeks to live, when she chose to declare that she was not done on this earth and asked our all-powerful God for her health to return so she could finish her earthly works. I don’t know the exact number of years she’s been well against all odds, but I believe it’s been decades now. Her path was altered by her faith and her explicit request to God. Mrs. Osteen’s story is truly great. Keep in mind, she’s an ordinary person, like the rest of us, but has a lifetime of extraordinary unbreakable faith and daily practice.
“13 If you then, who 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 11:13, ESV
I told my new friend what I am saying here, to never let your spirit be broken by anything. That is rule number one, because with genuine faith that cannot be shaken, you can go to God and ask for what you want. Your request, and Gods granting it, will be on par with your relationship with Him.
If you don’t have faith, get it. If you lost it, restore it. If you have it, strengthen it. The more you have, the more you will receive. Simple as that.
I say to you truly, if you are sincere in your belief in God and Christ, and you are sincerely willing to live a life that is genuine in your pursuit and sharing of Gods goodness, you will be granted what we can all have, Gods willingness to open His supernatural universe for you.
When you are there, all you will have to do is just ask.
“Father, thank you for hearing our hearts yearning. We seek you; we love you and expect your goodness, in the name of our Lord, Jesus the Christ. Amen.”