Are you ever afraid to ask God for something? I am. I find myself afraid I’ll ask for the wrong thing and then God will give it and I’ll be in a mess. Or I get afraid that if I ask, I won’t get an answer. Or the answer won’t be what I want to hear. Or I don’t ask because I think I don’t deserve to recieve anything. Or because asking might mean I haven’t yet conquered self.
But is any of that really true? I’ve been reading in the book of Mark lately. In Chapter 7 the Syrophonenician woman came and asked Jesus to heal her daughter. She wasn’t even deterred by His not immediately saying yes or no. She persisted. And Jesus healed her daughter.
In Chapter 9, the disciples become confused by Jesus’ words about what will happen to him, about his impending death and resurrection. Verse 32 says “But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.” They didn’t understand, yet they were afraid to ask.
Chapter 10 closes with the story of blind Bartimaeus. He called to Jesus, asking for mercy. When Jesus stopped and took him aside, Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus asked to receive his sight, and he received it.
As all three of these stories swirl together in my mind, I remember Jesus, who even knowing the Father’s plan for him, asked in the garden, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) He asked for the cup to pass, but also asked that the Father do as He pleased.
Then I remember the verses that I’ve pondered since my teenaged years. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?” (Luke 11:11-12)
So many times I am like the disciples. Afraid to ask. Afraid, maybe, to hear the answer—even sometimes afraid Jesus will grant my request. And yet—of all the examples above the only one turned down flat was Jesus’. But He didn’t mind, for He’d qualified it with “not as I will, but as You will.”
If the Word of God is to be taken as a whole, then I must conclude that God wants me to ask. That He will not give me something to my detriment if my heart is seeking that which is good in His sight. That while He may not say yes to my request, He is not offended by it. Indeed, while He knows my need or my desire before I ask, He sometimes deems it necessary for me to voice the question. I just need to ask.