My mamaw Deloney knew a lot of hard times in her earlier life so as she and Granddad settled into retirement she wanted to make her nest a bit more comfortable.
I’m sure it was with her urging that Granddad finally got an air-conditioned car and wonder of wonders they got air-conditioning in their little house. Granddad jested, “Next she’ll want me to build an air-conditioned tunnel so that she can walk from the house to the car
Really, he was happy to make her happy. The day that she demanded a dishwasher, though, he balked. He couldn’t see any reason to change the time-honored system of washing dishes by hand or even helping her himself since that was women’s work—(back in those days not today, young ladies, so settle down).
But Mamaw wanted one.
One day I was in the back of the house when Mamaw had once again broached the subject of a dishwasher. Granddad was adamant: no dishwasher!
She came back to where I was and remarked, I think as much to herself as to me, “He says, ‘no,’ but I’m going to keep on until he says, ‘yes.’”
Answered Prayer–Kind Of
Eventually, Granddad went to town and came back with something. “Here’s your dishwasher,” he said to her teasingly. Whereupon he showed her his purchases—hundreds of paper plates and plastic forks and spoons!
Mamaw played right along and Granddad ate on paper plates for a long time.
My grandmother knew something: sometimes asking means asking and asking, even when the person you’re asking loves you.
It’s like that with God. Listen to the Amplified translation of Luke 11:9: “So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.”
“Keep on asking?” What’s this translation? Charles B. Williams in The New Testament: A Translation, says, “The idea of continuing or repeated action is often carried by the present imperative and present participles in Greek.”
More Than Once … Unbelief?
That’s the tense of the verbs in these verses. I’ve heard people say, “If you ask more than once it’s unbelief. You ask and then you begin to thank God.”
I understand but I don’t agree. I think asking is a process. I ask until I touch God, then I begin to thank Him. Asking takes time and persistence. We want to put our dollar in the machine, push the right button and get our Diet Coke immediately.
It doesn’t work that way with God. He wants us to press in closer and closer to Him because He loves us and wants to be with us. He knows that the asking process brings us closer to Him. Asking is more for us than it is for Him.
That’s why Jesus tells the funny story of the man who went to a friend’s house in the middle of the night to borrow some bread. His “friend” didn’t want to get out of bed but the man made such a ruckus that the buddy finally got up—not because he was a friend but because he was making so much noise. He kept on.
Jesus Tells a Funny Story
Or the story that Jesus told of the little lady and the crooked judge. She had no money to bribe him so he basically let her know that it was too bad, but that’s life. He thought it was finished. But she kept on coming back and the more she came and he turned her down, the angrier she got.
He finally gave in because he had one determined, mad little lady in front of him. The King James Version kind of sanitizes the scene as the judge remarks, “Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” (Luke 18:5)
The Amplified version tries to give all the possibilities of translating the Greek text and here we find that it was more than weariness that motivated his response. “Yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or at the last she come and rail on me or assault me or strangle me.”
“Strangle him!” Wow, she was determined.
I think that after the disciples finished laughing Jesus probably made his point. If that works on someone who could care less about you, how much more will a Heavenly Father, who cares powerfully about you, come and help you if you ask Him?
Mamaw was onto something. “I’m going to keep on until he says, ‘yes.’”
Maybe you ought to try that with the Lord! If God stood before you right now and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” how would you answer?
Go ask Him right now.
Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, I would have built a faster horse.”