What to Do When We Ask and Do Not Receive

Jesus gathered his followers around him one day on a mountain side and he said to them,  
"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!"  (Matthew 7:6-12 ESV)
This teaching is something my wife and I have been talking about a lot recently as we journey through this season of unemployment.  We are both constantly in prayer asking, seeking, and knocking before God.  However it doesn't seem like there is much giving, finding, and opening.  We are before the Lord trying to discern the lessons he has for us during this time and where he is leading us.  It is a difficult process and provides many more questions than answers.

What I reminded Stephanie (and myself) of last night is that through it all God's loving goodness does not fail.  There are many verses in Scripture that provide additional insight into what Jesus taught about asking, seeking, and knocking.  The Bible teaches elsewhere that there are occasions we don't get what we ask for because our hearts are not right before God (James 4:3).  Another reason we don't get the answers we desire is because God has another idea about how the situation goes.  The Apostle Paul writes multiple times about desiring to see a brother or sister in another town but for various reasons (physical and spiritual) he is prevented from doing so.  There may even be some greater spiritual reason why our prayers seem to be temporarily unanswered (Job, Daniel 10).

What is most important is that we continue to put our hope and trust on God and his promises.  He WILL provide for us as he provides for the birds.  He DOES have a plan for our life to prosper us and not to harm us.  He SHALL raise us up on wings like eagles.  He IS our rock and firm foundation.