Longing For Eternity
“For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” — Luke 11:10
"All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.” — Hebrews 11:39
In Hebrews 11, Paul talks all about people who succeeded in this life due to their faith and persistence. I like that part. But then, in the last few sentences, he also talks about another group — those who were faithful but persecuted. Those who prayed and lived right lives and dedicated themselves to the Lord but still lived very hard lives. I don’t like that part as much — at least not right up front.
But Paul is reminding us, I think, what Jesus already knows as He directs the disciples in prayer. He sees with an eternal perspective. He knows that God does ultimately give the best gifts (peace, comfort, the Holy Spirit, direction, freedom from bondage, a purpose beyond what we can see, and so much more). He knows that the Father might not answer our prayers the way that we want Him to. And that’s not an easy pill to swallow, especially if what we are praying over causes us pain or suffering.
It can be something we don’t like to talk about much because it’s so hard to reconcile — that when we ask, we will receive, but also that God’s ways are higher and better, and also that our world is broken and temporary (that is why we long for eternity). It requires trust to keep asking and knocking and seeking with open hands, trusting that God will do what needs to be done, that He will answer and open and reveal in the ways that are best for us.
It bears saying that we will not have all the answers this side of heaven, but Jesus says that we will be answered. It might make us uncomfortable, but it is also our hope. That what we see is not the whole story. That God reaches way beyond what we understand or know right now. When we persist in prayer as Jesus teaches, God is working. Yet sometimes, He answers us in peace. He opens the door to comfort and direction, but not in the way we thought He would. He brings us into a relationship with Him. He gives us the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, the One that covered Him in wisdom and understanding and council and might (Isaiah 11:2). These are good gifts from a very good Father.
So we don’t stop praying, because we know He cares. We pray over small requests and big questions. We bring our worries and our hopes, trusting that He wants to hear us. He delights in us. And He knows what’s best. He’s not overlooking us, and He will work all things together for good, now and in eternity.
Think it over:
When you pray, thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit, and pay attention to the peace and guidance He gives you as you persist in prayer.