Is It OK to Beg God?

One morning this week as Roman snuggled with me in my favorite chair, we talked about our prayers that Joel will get to go with us to FL this summer. Travel for Joel is complicated since he is on probation and has to get permission from his officer here, who has to get permission from authorities where we’re going, not to mention approve the mode of travel, travel times, and on and on the list goes. So as our family prepares to visit Florida this summer we keep praying that Dad will be able to go with us. Suddenly Roman asked, ” If I ask God for the same thing over and over again, is that like begging?” Now I know where this question comes from. It stems from the hundreds of times I’ve firmly instructed, “Roman, don’t ask me again. That’s begging. When I’ve said no, you need to accept it.” Or “Roman, stopping asking over and over again. When I decide I’ll let you know. Begging won’t help me to make up my mind any more quickly.” He’s learned that begging for something is not appropriate behavior. So why do we keep asking God for the same thing over and over?

Of course one of the first thoughts that came to my mind in answer to his inquiry was the story Jesus told of the persistent widow who finally received justice even though the judge was neither compassionate towards her, nor truly interested in justice. Rather, her constant requests finally wore him down.  Jesus essentially said, “Your Father isn’t at all like that judge. He is both compassionate towards you and wholly committed to justice. So ask and ask and ask again. Because He delights to hear your requests.” Jesus also told the story about the friend who went begging for bread from his neighbor at midnight because an unexpected guest had arrived. Again the neighbor finally complied just to shut his friend up, not because he was particularly compassionate towards his friend’s plight.  Our Father is compassionate towards us and always available, Jesus taught.

So I did my best to explain to Roman that God wants us to keep asking Him for what we desire. But that as we ask we must always affirm that God knows best and we trust Him to answer in the best way. Trusting God, and continuing to ask him for what we desire, are not mutually exclusive. Rather they are two components of one faith: the kind of faith that knows God is approachable, and God is good, even when all experience may tell us otherwise. And when God says no to what we’ve persistently asked for, we can throw ourselves at His mercy in our disappointment.

We fervently hope that Joel will go with us to Florida this summer and that all of the family can  enjoy time together. That is what we are begging God for. In the meantime we are  learning to lay this fervent desire at His feet and expect only good from Him, no matter what the outcome.



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