What are we asking of God?

If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 

Matthew 7:11 

Dear members and friends,

One thing I could not stand when I was attending a Korean Presbyterian church in Korea was the special season for prayers. This usually started about 100 days prior to the national college entrance exam in Korea. The entrance exam is somewhat similar to the SAT, but Korean high school seniors have only one chance to take it on a specified date, and the result determines their college options. All Christian churches in Korea would offer the annual special prayer season for the parents of children who were about to take the exam. After listening to the prayers of those parents for several years, I noticed a few troublesome matters: 1. Somehow they all seemed to believe that God had something to do with the result of the exam that their children had been studying very hard for many years; 2. They all seemed to believe that shouting with a loud voice at their churches would help their children to get better results; 3. They all seemed to ask that their children would get good enough scores to enter the top 10 colleges, which was simply unrealistic. Of course, the real result was always that those who studied hard with diligence achieved good scores and entered the best schools regardless of their parents’ religious background. 

What most people often seem to misunderstand is that the good things intended by God might not be the same good things that people desire to possess in this world such as money, power, reputation, etc. The Bible is filled with stories of this somewhat eternal parallel in communication between God and humans. In a very simple way, if you were to ask for and receive something that is eternal or something that is perishable, which would you choose?  Logically, we would answer, “Something that is eternal!” However, in real life situations we often ask for what is perishable to God who dwells in eternity. Perhaps, we might need to reflect on what it means to ask God, and what we truly desire to receive. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment of time today. Let us reflect deeply on what we have been asking God, what we have been searching for, and on which doors we have been knocking. Let us be reminded that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and thus what is perishable and temporary is not meant to satisfy our hearts.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee