“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
–John 16:24b nkjv
The telephone rang and the voice on the other end was in an obvious place of turmoil. Nothing was going as planned and she was desperate for some reassurance and help. Oswald Chambers wrote,
There is nothing more difficult than asking. We will have yearnings and desires for certain things, and even suffer as a result of their going unfulfilled, but not until we are at the limit of desperation will we ask …Yet we will never receive if we ask with a certain result in mind, because we are asking out of our lust, not out of our poverty. A pauper does not ask out of any reason other than the completely hopeless and painful condition of his poverty. He is not ashamed to beg— blessed are the paupers in spirit (see Matthew 5:3).
It is not until we come to the end of ourselves that we have the inclination to ask. Friends, it ought not be so for the child of God.
My sweet wife and I enjoy playing golf together. Several years ago she clearly communicated with me that she neither wanted nor needed me to tell her anything about her golf swing. She repeatedly reminded me, “Don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong!” I heeded her words. On one particular day we were playing on a beautiful course in the mountains of North Carolina. The views were incredible, the course was impeccable, and the difficulty was irritating. The rolling terrain was certainly taking its toll on Mary. After a particularly challenging hole, she looked at me and asked, “What am I doing wrong?” I was a bit perplexed and found myself in a muddle. Despite my previous instructions and after giving her request instantaneous consideration, I found myself giving her one quick adjustment thought and she hit the ball longer, straighter, and more accurately than she had all day long.
The point of this illustration is certainly not about my ability to coach someone on their golf swing! Those who have played golf with me know how absolutely unqualified I am to do any such thing! The point is that it was only when Mary came to the place of desperation and helplessness that she was willing to ask for and accept instruction.
The same principle is at work in our spiritual lives. Far too often we think that we can handle almost anything that comes our way. We are living in a world of chaos that seems to be devoid of answers, but Jesus IS the answer! The context of John 16 is the promise of Jesus’ finished work on the cross and His effectual resurrection. This glorious work gives direct access to the Father in prayer to all believers in the Son. The Son of God is urging His followers to “Ask and you will receive [in order] that your joy may be made [completely] full.”
Because of Jesus’ atoning work on the cross and victorious resurrection from the grave we have the absolute confidence of knowing that all we have to do is ask … inasmuch that we ask according to His prompting and will. “Answered prayer, based on the finished work of Jesus Christ and springing from an obedient life (15:10-11), is a powerful force in turning sorrow into joy.”
Go ahead … ASK.