I have just been reading John 16 this morning. What struck me among many other things was the theme of “asking.” The disciples are in spiritual confusion because of what Jesus has been telling them, but for whatever reason, they seem reluctant to voice that. I guess it is hard to admit our ignorance, especially if we are meant to be spiritual leaders in the work of God! From that point on in the chapter, Jesus seems to be encouraging them to make asking from a place of confusion very much a permanent part of their spiritual walk. He is going to the Father, with all that means for opening up the way to His Father as their Father. They can come to the Father for anything at any time but especially to bring Him their questions in times of confusion and tribulation and stress, and ask for all they need to see a path through these times. That primarily seems to be the type of asking which Jesus is encouraging in this particular chapter.
I have grown to love the New living Translation of the bible. No doubt there will be those reading this blog who will point to its deficiencies, but I have found it often helps me to see and visualise truth with a new simplicity. In verse 23 we read these words on the lips of Jesus: “…ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.” Here is what is ignited in my imagination by these words:
I stand at the door marked “Father’s House” and knock. I hear a voice from within the house: “Yes?”
“Jesus sent me. He told me I could come here and say he sent me. He told me I could come to you and ask you for anything. He told me….”
… my introduction of myself is cut short! The door flings swiftly, even wildly open, as tbough it could not be opened fast enough, as though it would burst its own hinges! The smiling, excited and astonished Father says to me with eyes and voice sparkling with something impossible to express in words, “Jesus sent you, you say? My Son told you to come here, to come to me? Come in friend, come right in! Whoever he sends my way, never gets turned away from my door, or goes away empty handed! Any friend of Jesus, my Son, is my friend too. Come in, come on in! You are more than welcome! Sit down. Let’s sup together first of all….Now, what is it you are wanting to ask? Tell me about it.”
“Well, Father, I am confused. These are troubling times. I need wisdom, I need understanding, I need faith, well, I don’t know all that I need, but I need you to help me overcome, Father, to help me to be like the one we both love, Jesus, who overcame the world.”
…and the conversation, the speaking/listening, the round of questioning/answering begins…. and I find something of that indescribeable sparkle I noticed begins to sparkle deep within me. Deep calls to deep. I begin to believe that I, even I, can be more than a conqueror through Him who has loved me, and always will.
May you see the door to the Father’s house being flung wildly open to welcome you this day and every day. Begin to ask and sparkle!