I’m writing this today because I don’t want to forget. Its truth is too powerful, and its words of love are too precious:
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!”
I often forget how deeply God loves me–how He wants good for me, because I am his daughter and He is my Father in Heaven. There are so many cracks in our earthly relationships, and I automatically assume that those cracks also exist in my relationship with God. I allow the ugliness of this world to seep in and fill me up–doubt, fear, worry, selfishness, thoughts of condemnation and unworthiness. All things whispered in my ear by the evil one to distract me from what’s right and what’s true–
God loves me. He sees me, He hears me and He wants only what is good for me.
I haven’t always had a personal relationship with God, but looking back on my younger years, I now see that He was always there. And in my broken, fragile heart, there was a seeking and yearning that was always brewing at my core.
I accepted Christ in college, before which time I had no idea that such perfect love existed. His desire to be known by me, and I by Him, was never made real until one warm college night on a park bench. I was led in a prayer full of words that, at that moment, I did not yet fully understand. I walked away knowing that something was different–that I was different–but it’s taken many more years and life experiences to crack the surface of understanding how to walk with Him–
To live in confidence of His unconditional love for me.
To see the good in every single thing He gives me.
To know that I am a daughter of the King of Kings, once broken and condemned but now made perfect and redeemed.
I had a lot of baggage to deal with in the years that followed that night on the bench, and it felt like a lifetime of questions were in need of asking. Some things in my life had felt hard, and I desperately wanted answers–His answers. I needed God to show me the good in a childhood of teasing and broken self-esteem. I yearned for God to show me the good as I searched for joy in depression and loneliness. I cried for God to show me the good when life felt nearly impossible.
That college night on a bench, the doors of communication were blown wide open as I was learning to go to God at any time, with anything. “[…] ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you.”
Still, through it all, I never would have imagined the painful questions yet to come, the ways in which my tear-stained fists would pound furiously upon the window of Heaven’s door.
As Scott and I embarked on growing our family, miscarriage after miscarriage broke our hearts–four of them in the course of one year. And in the quiet depths of my soul, it felt like my worst fears had come true. I believed that God had finally discovered what a fraud I truly was, my mess of sin coming back to give me the punishment I so clearly deserved. I didn’t want to ask God why, because I was afraid that I already knew.
Have you ever been there, friends? Are you in that dark place today? If you are, or if you fear that you soon will be, then I beg you to stop and hear me right now: those are lies straight from the pit of hell.
I was new in my faith, flawed in my thinking and missing the whole point of Christ crucified. I had a relationship with God, no doubt, and my salvation was certainly secure, but I had been walking through life under a secret cloud of fear. Fear of asking Him for things of which I am not worthy and don’t deserve. Quite honestly, the thought of asking God for anything once sent me into a panic. It took my own painful brokenness to see that my fears were so unfounded.
God is not waiting for the next big moment to put me in my place. He’s not eagerly anticipating the moment when He can say, “There! Take that!” and knock me down with an arm of wrath. These thoughts are misguided, and they break God’s heart.
Wouldn’t it break yours, to hear your child say that she is afraid of you? That your precious child, whom you love more than life itself, actually doubts your love for her? That you don’t accept her, right or wrong, and always want what is good for her?
How much more, then, do these thoughts break the heart of God?
I didn’t learn this for myself, and live it for myself, until we made it through to the other side of that storm. Looking back, it was one of the very ways in which God redeemed a terrible situation–one not caused by Him but by the broken world we live in. He used our heartache to bring us closer to Him, deepening our understanding of His love for us in ways that we would not have known otherwise. Through the childhood bullying, the college depression and days that knocked me down in the dirt, God’s answer to me has always been there… and it’s always been the same.
My answer–the only answer–is Him.
To walk through trials of any kind, and to brave the tides of all weather, is for us to see Him. It is to know Him more, to love Him more and to draw near to him more fully. I look back and see how God picked me up in the days before I knew He was even there. I look back see God reaching down to catch each tear that fell into my empty, childless arms.
I think about my life and find that it has always been good, because He is always good.
God? He is in everything.
And then, even when He should be more than enough, God reaches down to give us the desires of our seeking hearts. And He does so at just the right time. From bad, He brings good. From ashes, He brings beauty. At just the right time, God gives just the right answers.
Scott and I? We asked, begged, pleaded and prayed, and at long last… we received.
How could I look at these beautiful faces and see anything less than a God who gives us only good?
And now, I find myself in a new season of life in which my faith is again being tested. I am a mother to these precious little girls, and the fears/hopes/dreams I have for them overwhelm me daily. I love them so much that it hurts, and I want only the best for them in this life. Every fiber of me being is theirs. How can anyone else love them more? Who else can give them what is good but me?
God. That’s who. My God and theirs.
As worry for their well-being overtakes me, I am called again and again to go back to those powerful words in Luke 11. To go back to the depth of God’s love for me and know that His love also covers them. To break open my heart before my Heavenly Father, minute after minute and hour after hour, asking and seeking not only for myself… but now for the sweet children He has blessed us with. It is no longer for myself that I knock, but also for them.
And when I knock? I must believe that the door will open and His answer will always be good.