“You have not, because you do not ask.” -James 4:2
My mother quoted this in a conversation with me yesterday, and then I opened my devotional this morning and what was at the top of the page? You guessed it. James 4:2.
Okay God, I get it. So why am I not asking for what I want? It seems so simple. I want something, I don’t know how to get it on my own, and God literally says “Hey, you can ask me!” while I keep scratching my head thinking, “I just don’t know what to do.” Humans are so stubborn. (By humans, I mean me).
Oftentimes, we think we’re smart enough to figure everything out on our own. Sure, God gave us all brains for a reason (again you guessed it, to use them), but there is still so much outside of our control, outside of our understanding. That’s when God looks at us like, “Alright, I’m waiting.” Maybe we’ll ask once, but since the heavens didn’t open up and reveal what we wanted at that exact moment, our immediate reaction is to discredit God. Humans are also incredibly rash and impatient.
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Keep on asking. If you don’t see results, ask again. God waits for a lot of reasons. Maybe He wants to see if you’re really serious about it; if you’re going to be as fervent about asking next month as you are today. Maybe your heart wasn’t in the right place. Maybe He wants to give you what you’re asking for, but knows that you don’t need it right now. Something else may need to fall into place first. Or maybe He’s looking out for you and, while you might not actually need what you are asking for, He’s planning something else that you do.
Not only does Matthew 7:7 tell us to keep asking, but it tells us that we need to be asking in the right way. “How you ask is also important. The Bible says in James 5:16 that the fervent, effectual prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available. What kind of person? A righteous person! Not one who feels guilty, condemned, no good, and as if God is angry with him. Not one who is fearful, cowardly, timid, indecisive, and double-minded.” (Joyce Meyer, The Confident Woman)
Long story short, be confident when you ask for something. Ask like you mean it. Don’t give up easily. You probably don’t deserve what you want if you’re going to give up after only asking once, or without even asking at all.
That’s the important thing to remember about God. He’s always there, waiting for us to approach Him, but we’re often too stubborn to actually take the initiative, to admit that we might need some assistance. Instead of saying, “Okay, well you had your chance,” and moving on, He stays. He waits. He hopes relentlessly that you do approach Him. He wants it so badly that He will wait your entire life if He has to. Now that’s dedication.