From today’s Gospel Reading (17th Sunday in Ordinary Time) is an important testimony to a loving God for those enduring trouble and pain:
- “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
- For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Unfortunately, many people read the Luke excerpt (along with the similar one in Matthew 7:7-8) and feel that they can script the results. You cannot. You may ask and seek and knock, but when done in faith, the answer will be in what you need, not want. We pray in our time, and God answers in His. We cannot be so arrogant that we feel we can snap our fingers and expect God to deliver what we want when we want it. When done in faith we are provided with assurance that our needs will be taken care of.
This is even alluded to in AA’s “Big Book” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. AA World Services, 2001) page 559: “We are taught to differentiate between our wants (which are never satisfied) and our needs (which are always provided for). We cast off the burdens of the past and the anxieties of the future, as we begin to live in the present, one day at at time.”
This is also strongly reminiscent of Matthew’s Gospel:
- “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
- Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
- Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
- But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
- If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
- So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
- All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
- But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness,and all these things will be given you besides.
- Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
The Matthew excerpt is very comforting, but sensible too. God will provide. He knows what you need. Time spent in anxiety is time wasted and may indeed get in the way of solutions and remedies that God may be providing. Try and listen to the still, small voice that is the Lord beckoning and reaching out to you with His help.
We must ask in faith, and always in mind as to how this will help in building up the Kingdom of God. That is, seek the way in which we Christians are to transform the world.
We “seek first the Kingdom”, our own needs will fall into place.