Oakley Chapel Rogers AR | Growing Deeper: God’s Love From a Different Perspective

Luke 11:5-13 states: “Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks fora fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

For the past several weeks on Sunday Mornings at Oakley Chapel, we have been learning and discussing the love of God. Luke 11 is an interesting text that instructs us, as children of God, how we should relate to God. Often, I hear: “If God loves me so much, why doesn’t God answer my prayer(s)?” I hope to shed just a little light on this question during this blog post

Approaching God with Shameless Audacity. The text tells us not to worry about being polite to our friend, but to go boldly and ask of our friend what it is that we want. In this text the friend has apparently bedded his family and animals down for the night and doesn’t want to bother the household; however, Jesus said: “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” Jesus tells us this is the way we are to approach God: As an audacious friend, and we will be given as much as we NEED. I believe it is important to understand that in our asking there is a difference between NEED and WANT. Many of us ask God in wanting verses needing, and then are dismayed when it appears our prayer(s) is not answered.

How much more God gives. One my favorite quotes that helps me understand God is found in verse 13: “13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” I have three children and I would give my life for any of them at any moment on any given day. I have spent all of my adult life providing and caring for my children. I am truly blessed to be a parent; however, there are times that I have been disappointed, and/or hurt, by my children; yet, my love for them has never changed. When I think about the love I have for my children and realize that “God who knows no evil” as my heavenly parent wants what is best for me; that changes my whole outlook on life and prayer. First, I realize God loves me beyond my ability to comprehend, just as my children will continue to struggle to understand my love for them until they have children of their own. If we, “who are evil,” love our children this way, how much more must God love us? Secondly, I also have a different understanding of my prayer life. This text ends with “…how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” According to Paul, as recorded in Romans 8:26-27: “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” So, if God has given us His Spirit, then the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will; therefore, God answers our prayers according to God’s will in our lives, not our will for our lives. This means God answers the prayer of our NEED, and not necessarily our WANT. Just as we, as parents, don’t give our children everything they want because we know it is not good for them; so, God, who loves us more than we as evil love, will give us what is in our best interest(s) according to God Divine knowledge, not our want. Sometimes the best answered pray is the one that is not answered the way we want.

It is important to remember we are finite being trying to relate to an infinite God; therefore, our knowledge, understanding and ability to see beyond the present moment is nonexistent, or very limited at best. We can make really good educated guesses based on what we know and have experienced, but we still do not have the ability to see into the future. We (or at least I) often pray as though I know the best answer(s), but the reality is I don’t, and God does. Here are my questions:
Have you experienced the love of God in your life to the point you trust God with your life?
If you to fully trust God with your life, are you capable of praying: “God, your will be done?
If you are able to pray “God, your will be done,” are willing to accept whatever that will is?
I believe it is in the answers to these questions you will experience where you are in your walk as a follower of Jesus. I also believe as you understand where you are in your faith journey, you will find peace for the days ahead as you continue to grow in faith and prayer. Friend, my you come to know God the love of God from a different perspective.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Shane