When I was a kid, sometimes my siblings and I felt it necessary, even dire, to interrupt our parents’ alone time. There may have been popsicles involved. At age seven, I didn’t know what was going on behind their closed door on a Saturday afternoon, but my brothers and sister and I had this deal that we always discussed ambling down the hall toward their door. One of us would quickly say, “I knock. You talk.”
Now, knocking would seem like the easy part in comparison with the other. You could knock somewhat boldly, while the your sister feebly asked, “Um, could we … ?” But knocking broke the silence. Knocking was the initiation. An unconvincing knock wasn’t good. One that received no response was an early indication your request would not be granted. You didn’t want to knock twice.
I’ve been studying the book of 1 John, and I read something recently that reminded me of a great privilege I have—that all believers have. I haven’t taken advantage of it much, though. It might be because of the church I grew up in or maybe the sour taste in my mouth whenever I see most TV preachers. The ones who talk about getting stuff from God like he’s Santa Claus or Daddy Warbucks.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. —1 John 3:21-22 ESV
In another place in Scripture, Jesus said—get this—to knock. Knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. (Now, as kids we weren’t interested in getting our parents to open the door. I think we’d figured out that when they were alone together they were in a pretty good mood. Also, they wanted to keep being alone together, so it was likely that our request would be honored, just to get us to go away.)
These days, what door am I wanting to be opened?
I think I know, but it’s been awhile since I’ve asked. See, I’ve been afraid to ask of God what I really want. Sure, there’ve been some occasions. But mostly as it regards life plans for our family, I’ve felt we should just go with the flow, whatever leading of his we’re sensing.
If I’m reading John’s words correctly, then I can have confidence to ask of God, knowing I will receive because I’m following his word and doing what pleases him. But that’s often where it bogs down for us. We assume we’re not following his word, that we’re not pleasing God. However, as John explained in the preceding verses, sometimes our hearts condemn us when we’re, in fact, not guilty. (I’ll need to expound on that one in another post.)
So, what do we want? Cindy and I should ask together. But I’m the leader, so I should have her knock and I’ll talk. That really is the hard part.