He is Able, But is He Willing?

(Luke 11:9-13  ESV)  (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.  (11) What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  (12) or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  (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!”

I believe Ida Mae addressed this subject last week. It has been on my mind as well.

I think that most of us genuinely believe that the Lord is able to do anything He wants. Some people don’t believe that. But a Christian believes, through genuine faith, that God created the universe out of nothing by the mere power of His Word. That should pretty well settle everything else. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Where I stumble, and where I suspect you do as well, is not in the doing, but in the wanting. The desiring. We pray and ask, fret and worry and plead with the Lord about many things. I know He can do far beyond anything I ask or even think about. But is He willing? Will He do it? There’s the rub for me. And it isn’t even so much that I fret whether He will answer my prayers in exactly the way I have in mind. I know He isn’t bound by my plans and that He may well pull things off in a different way than I “suggest” to Him. No, the problem for me is, is He willing to give me something good? Is He even listening to what must surely be my trivial issues? And there is more. What if I haven’t been very good of late? Why should He give me good things in light of my performance? He knows what I am, and what I am isn’t all that great.

Well, I haven’t learned this lesson fully or finally yet, but I can tell you this much because of what the Lord says. He tells us that not only is He able to give us good things, but He is abundantly willing to give them. He delights in giving them to His children. His “reluctance” isn’t the issue, my thinking about these things is what my problem is. Jesus, in the text quoted above, argues from the lesser to the greater. The lesser is me. The greater is Him. If Jeff’s son asks for help of some kind, do I sock him in the mouth? Do I give him some wicked, harmful thing? Or do I just plain ignore him because I have a lot of other things on my mind? No. I don’t do any of those things. I jump at the chance to help him and give him good things. God, who is the perfection of goodness, who loves His children infinitely more than I love mine, knows full well how to give good gifts to them. And on top of that, He delights in doing so. I mean, why else would He have given us Christ?

Somewhere in all of this however my faith short-circuits. I guess it is because I am too used to the way things work around here. This world isn’t very gracious. In this world, some fathers do give scorpions to their children. Employers dump you for the bottom line. Fellow Christians can take the wrong side against us, and people who vowed to love us — don’t. And sometimes our circumstances are so difficult that even if other people are willing to help is, they can’t. It is beyond their ability.

But what if there were Someone who not only possessed infinite ability, but also was consistently and unwaveringly motivated to use that omni-power to shower His children with truly good gifts? Simply because He delights in it. Because He loves to hear our requests so He can move into action in giving us those things? And who is so wise that if we ask for something that isn’t really good for us (50 lbs of chocolate or something), He is able to tweak our request and answer it for our good? You really couldn’t lose when that Someone is on your side.

So, keep asking. He is willing. The Lord is scanning us, ready to hear our prayers, ready to gloriously answer in ways we cannot even imagine. Moses spent 40 years being “prepped” in the wilderness. But the Lord was working and hearing and the Exodus was in the making all along. No one will ever trust in the Lord and find out one day they were a fool for doing so.

[March 27, 2023: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to March 27, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to March 27, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to March 27, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (March 27, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

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