Pursuing God with Persistence

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

Frustrated and overwhelmed, I snapped an answer at one of my children.  In exhaustion, I glared at my husband when I expected that he should know how to help.  I told all of them that I needed help, but none of them seemed to be helping.  My husband finally asked what I needed, but he wanted to know what I really needed.  He knew I was stressed about the housework, and the things for school that needed to be finished, but he also knew I needed more than that.  I told him that I needed a break; I needed some time to just sit quietly.

Can I share something I’m learning?  We have to learn to ask for help.  I don’t just mean making a general statement like, “I need help.”  We need to learn to ask for what we need, specifically.  That was where I went wrong with my family – I had asked for some help, but I had not asked for anything specifically.  I knew what I wanted done but I had not shared that with my family.  It took my husband coming to me, to ask for what I truly needed, before I was able to find peace.

In Mark 10, Jesus met Bartimaeus, a blind man who was sitting by the roadside.  Knowing the man was blind, it seemed a natural assumption that the man would want to see.  But Jesus asked him, in verse 51, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He could have just healed the man, but he chose to have the man ask for what he wanted, specifically.  When Bartimaeus replied that he wanted his sight, he was immediately healed.

Matthew 7:7, at the beginning of this post, seems to indicate that we should not just ask, but that we should be persistent when we ask.  It tells us to ask, to seek, and to knock.  If we only need to ask for what we need, we may give up if we do not receive it.  But God seems to underscore the importance of being persistent.

When Jesus met Bartimaeus, he was calling out to Jesus.  Others in the crowd wanted him to be quiet, but Bartimaeus would not be silenced.  When Jesus stopped for him, the passage points out that Bartimaeus then had to get to Jesus.  It’s possible that someone would have helped Bartimaeus from where he was, to where Jesus was.  There’s no way to know how far this walk was – he was close enough for Jesus to be able to hear him – but for a blind man, it certainly required some effort to get to Jesus.

How does this apply in our lives?  When we are in need, we must ask God for help.  But I don’t believe He wants us to view Him as just a passing thought when we’re coming to Him for help.  I believe He wants us in a place of earnestly seeking after Him.  If all we need to do is ask God for help, then we could continue moving through our lives, and maybe we would even take the credit for working out the problems.

But God’s instructions to us are to ask, seek, and knock.  When I seek for something, I stop everything else that I am doing.  I think God wants that same type of intentional focus when we are seeking help from Him.  How do we do this?  Maybe we need to pull out our Bibles and spend some time in God’s Word.  Or maybe we need to spend some time in prayer – God is always so faithful to meet our needs when we seek after Him!

Have you pursued God’s help, but then you’ve felt like you were coming away empty-handed?  Maybe you have asked, you have sought after God, but you still don’t have your answer.  We also need to knock.  Remind God that you’re still waiting.  He isn’t going to be upset about that – after all, He already knows how you feel.  Continue to ask, continue to seek, but also, knock.

In Luke 18, Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow.  She kept going to the judge, asking for justice.  She kept knocking – reminding him that she had not received an answer from him.  Verses 4 and 5 of Luke 18 show us that the widow’s persistence paid off.

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

Her persistence with the unjust judge paid off.  She was able to get the justice she wanted because she kept knocking.

If God hasn’t clearly given us an answer, then we need to be like Bartimaeus and the widow – persistent.  When we are in need of something from God, let’s remember – don’t just ask for help, be persistent in pursuing God!