Ask, Seek, Knock: Easy Economics or Life-Changing Hope?

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The Discovery Channel premiers a mini-series next week called Klondike. I was watching the movie Merlin on T.V. and the trailer for Klondike must have aired every commercial break. Richard Madden’s character narrates the trailer, and I don’t know what he actually says, but what I heard had me thinking about hope again.

Madden’s character talks about venturing into the Yukon with “nothing in [his] pocket but a handful of hope.” It’s not 1897, and most of us are not tackling the Yukon in search of gold, but the unknowns of our futures are just as overwhelming. At least in 1897 you could get a map of the territory and a general idea of where gold was being yanked from the earth. There’s no life-map tied to our wrist at birth giving us some kind of idea about where to go, what to do or how to do it. We have to make those decisions. We can seek counsel, pray and sense our way into a choice, but it’s not the same as having a tangible clue.

It reminds me of the “Ask, Seek, Knock” thing in the Bible:

“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.” Mat 7:7-8 (NIV)

Asking and seeking and knocking can all been seen as a variation of the same thing: receiving something or looking for something. The next part affirms God gives good gifts. I think we like to view this passage rigidly, meaning a simple act of asking/seeking/knocking yields exactly what we expect and good gifts arrive immediately. We view it as easy economics.

Perhaps it is as simple asking or knocking in some instances, but there is also a practical component we forget. Seeking implies a practical, real life factor. Searching means something is elusive, missing, unknown and there is a sense of urgency in finding it. Asking and knocking are synecdoches for this same search. Not a search for God’s will or a search for the best path for our lives. It is a search for God Himself.

Indeed those who seek find (it is promised) but, through the lens of hope and growth, part of our seeking entails being confronted on our journey by opportunities to press us out of fear and into trust. I think fear inhibits finding. We brush up against opportunities, things stretching us, pulling us beyond our bubbles, and we choose to avoid them instead of embracing them and allowing them to pull us into the mystery of who God is.

Maybe it’s a conversation needing to be had, a move, a routine, introspection, stillness. Whatever it is, our fears cement our feet.

And yet what enables us to confront our fear when we’ve little capacity in our circumstance to fully trust? Hope. Whether Madden’s character says what I think he says in the trailer, I believe it to be true. Even in the most perplexing of circumstances, we have a hope to cry out, “God is who He says He is”; a hope to cling to the promise of ultimate good; a hope to nurture our timid, and sometimes absent, trust.

Sometimes all we have is a handful of hope in our pocket, and thank God that’s enough.

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