By Jenna Walmer
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12
Sports. Music. Art. Games. Pretty much anything that requires skill requires practice. You have heard it been said, practice makes perfect. But what is key to becoming better? Just practicing once on and off and just when you’re having a good day? Of course not! People don’t become champions by practicing when it feels right. Michael Phelps didn’t win 8 gold medals by showing up to one swim practice only when he was feeling good. I’ve read a few books about this stellar athlete- he didn’t miss practice, and he practiced through whatever wrench was thrown at him. His goggles may have broke…He kept going. He was made a champion through practicing and persisting through difficult situations.
Now, how can I draw a parallel between a swimmer who is not the best role model and the Sermon on the Mount? Hmm… When Jesus talked about asking, seeking, and knocking, he was asking us to hold onto our relationship with God through everything, thick and thin. Because persistence is what strengthens our relationship. If you think about it, the opposite of persisting is giving up, and we don’t want to “give up” on God, do we?
In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. We know that building a strong relationship with God takes time. Jesus assures us that if we have faith and focus, we will be rewarded. When the going gets tough and you feel like you cannot hear or talk to God, continue to ask him for more. Keep an open door. Don’t shut it!
God wants us to continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. He wants us to come to Him when we are troubled. He doesn’t want us to go away or give up on Him. Through persistence, one will find a stronger connection with God.
However, we must understand that God will not give us “stones” or “snakes.” He will only give us what He thinks we need at the right time. God will not harm us, even if we ask for it and think it’s in our best nature. How reassuring! As we grow closer to God and know Him as a caring father, we will learn what is good for us, in His eyes, and he will grant it when we are persistent.
Jesus also discusses the Golden Rule at the end of this passage: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” This saying has been used in elementary schools for years. It’s easy to tell a child not to bully someone on the playground or not to tease a peer because he or she wouldn’t want to be treated like that. However, if you pull this statement to a larger context, like conflicts overseas that involve mass killing machines, would people react the same way? How would the military or terrorists group’s attitudes change if someone told them: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Would this change their perspective on the weaponry they hold in their hands on a daily basis?
As Michael Phelps persisted with his workout schedule and his dream of becoming a champion, many others persisted to achieve their dreams. In the wake of his birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. persisted through many marches and boycotts leading the Civil Rights Movement. The Nigerians persist daily by not giving in to responding with violence.
Jesus wants us to ask, seek, knock, and persist in our faith. Ask God for strength to be a witness for people who are being persecuted for their beliefs. Seek for wisdom on how to end violence and other atrocities in the world. Knock on the door that leads to your dreams. Persist in your faith and be patient. God will answer. Wisdom will be found. The door will be opened. Ask. Seek. Knock. Persist.
Jenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100