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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matt. 7:7-11
Before I was a parent, I thought I understood these verses. But now, I realize there is a depth to them that I missed before. When Ethan asks in his precious little voice “peas” (please) for milk, of course I want to give him what he needs. It would never even enter my mind to give him something harmful instead! Though, I may delay giving him milk if it is close to dinner, or I may give him something else that is better for him at that time. He may interpret my actions as unfair and throw a fit about it, but as his parent, I know better.
Now, I’m coming to think we do the same with God. We beg and plead, even for things we need, but often God delays a response or gives us something better for us. Like Ethan we may get angry and throw a fit because we perceive God’s actions as unfair. However, also like Ethan, later down the line (though sometimes never) we realize that God did answer our request, only in a way that was much better for us than we thought. Better than “we could ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).