Our Gospel this weekend was from Luke 11:1-3. It goes a little something like this:
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
“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.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Not gonna lie, when I heard the part, “If he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence,” I laughed. Out loud. That’s funny. I mean if someone were to bother me at midnight when I was tucked in my bed, I would be ticked off, even if it were for a friend. I mean seriously. Go somewhere else. Let me sleep. But this guy’s not gonna go away until I give him what he wants, so I might as well suck it up and go grab some bread for him. I can totally imagine a situation like this playing out in my life, and so it is funny.
Aside from that line… lately, I’ve been thinking God is full of crap. I haven’t gotten anything I’ve been asking for. I’ve been teased plenty of times, sure… like whenever I break down and cry and threaten to renounce my faith and become a pagan or something out of the sheer frustration of asking and never receiving… God will send me a job opportunity, or get me excited about something, and I’ll be happy again… only to not actually get the job anyway. The guy’s got a sick sense of humor, I’ll tell you that. Sometimes I think God is nothing more than a mean fat kid on an anthill in the blazing sun with a magnifying glass. And he has bad manners and chocolate dribbling down his chubby face. I genuinely think that sometimes. I’ve been asking for a job, for clarity, for peace, for love, for something to do besides playing the Sims on my computer and wishing my life was as exciting as my Sim who recently achieved his life dream of becoming an International Super Spy… and I got nothin. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I’m trying to follow God’s call, and I’m doing my fair share of the hard work, but God just seems to enjoy watching me suffer and saying no all the time. God seems to like to dangle good things in front of me, promise to give them, and then rips them away. Mean fat kid on an anthill.
And then I read the part about persistence, and I realized… well HA! If I can’t get what I want by being friendly and nice, then I’m busting out the big guns. I’m gonna start demanding. I am going to ask every single hour of every single day and he’s gonna HAVE to give in. He’s going to be so tired of my whining that he’ll have no choice. Mean fat kid, meet meaner fatter kid. Bam.
Okay I don’t really mean to sound like I hate God. I don’t. I’m just pissed at the guy right now. I mean seriously. Throw me a bone. Let me work at Starbucks, for crying out loud. I’ve always wanted to be a barista. Please don’t make me bag groceries. You know how unorganized I am. Hell if I would have the patience necessary to freaking bag groceries all day. Yikes. No thank you. If I can’t be a youth minister right now (or ever… which is another story in itself), at least let me do something I enjoy. Don’t torture me.
Persistence!!! Ask and you shall receive!!! Don’t just ask once, because chances are God’s just laying around on his laz-e-boy recliner chuggin beers and watching the game, and he doesn’t want to be disturbed. Ask and ask and ask again! Pound on that door! I do believe that even though it doesn’t feel like it all the time, God does love each and every one of us. It’s just that if we really WANT what he has to offer us… we’ve gotta WORK for it. We’ve gotta keep hoping when it seems hopeless. We’ve gotta keep asking at risk of sounding like a broken record. We cannot give up. Because once you give up… you lose. You don’t get anything. Don’t be that guy. Go get those loaves. How bad do you want it???