If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” ~ Jesus
This doesn’t seem to be how the analogy should end. The kids need food, not the Holy Spirit.
What could Jesus possibly be saying here? Here’s what I think He is saying, “Sometimes, what we think we need more than anything in the world is answers, help, a fix, a cure—but the thing we most need is God. We need the presence of God more than we need the provisions of God. What we need more than what God gives, is God.
His very best gift to us is Himself.
Jesus lived for us, died for us, and was raised from the dead for us so that the third person of the Trinity could actually live in our lives. The Christian message is NOT that your life will be trouble-free. It was not true for the people who heard Jesus teach this 2,000 years ago, it was not true of the saints down through the ages, and it is not true for us today.
This was not even true for Jesus Himself. Jesus’ didn’t get His resurrection before His death.
Often awful things happen to very good people. The good news is that when we are confused about why the heavens are silent when we are in trouble, sick, or broken is that the cross and the empty tomb proves that God is with us right now—and that is enough.
And the resurrection is exhibit A that God is mighty enough to right the wrongs of this world and will one day make everything sad come untrue. What God did to the dead and stiffening cadaver of Jesus, He will one day do for this rotten world. He will bring ‘up there down here.’
In 1758, Robert Robinson wrote one of the most beloved hymns of the church, Come, Thou Fount. The words have moved Christians from the time he wrote it.
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
A lot of people don’t know that, after writing that hymn, Robinson left the faith. It was not that he no longer believed. He believed in the doctrine but his own failure and sin caused him to lose his belief that God could love him. Years later on a summer evening he was riding in a carriage with a lady friend. They rode past a church and heard the strings of the hymn Robinson had written so many years before coming from the open windows of the church.
Robinson began to cry. His friend asked him the reason for his tears and he told her that the hymn was his. “I would give everything I own,” he said, “to know the peace that I knew when I wrote that hymn.”
I wish I could have talked to Robert Robinson. I would have liked to have told him that he will never know the peace he longs for by being on the outside looking in. I would have told him to get down off his horse carriage and go to the Father, Almighty. He won’t be angry. He’ll love you and it will be as if you had never left!”
That is the hope we cling to when we call God “Our Father, Almighty.”
When I was a trustee on Lifeway Christian Resources back in the 90’s, I was flying into Nashville for a board meeting. Somewhere along the way we hit some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever been through in my entire life. I have flown quite a bit and usually don’t get too spooked about this kind of thing. But this was really bad. That kind of experience tends to make you pray. I prayed intensely during that bumpy ride. But the really irritating thing was that I was seated beside a woman who slept through the entire thing. When we finally landed, she woke up and stretched and wiped the sleep out of her eyes. I said to her, “Lady, we almost died and you slept through the entire thing! How could you sleep through that?
She laughed, and said, “Mister, I can’t fly the plane!”
God and God alone is Almighty.
I have a friend whose father, when my friend was a small boy, placed him on top of a kitchen counter and said, “Son, jump and I’ll catch you.” When my friend jumped, his father turned his back and let him hit the floor. Then his father said, “Son, you have just learned an important lesson. Never trust anybody…ever.”
God says, “Jump I’ll catch you.” When you do, we find that we are caught in the arms of a Father who has never broken a promise, never abused his children, never let us go.
I love the words of the late Brennan Manning:
May all your expectations be frustrated;
May all your plans be thwarted
May all your desires be withered into nothingness…
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty
Of a child and sing and dance in the compassion of God Who is
Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
If you are a follower of Jesus you don’t need to wonder if you are welcome in God’s presence. There is no gatekeeper to the throne-room of heaven.
You have access to the Living God—because He is your Father.