In John chapter 16, Jesus illustrates some important points about our communication with him.
Jesus told the disciples that he was going away for a while, and they didn’t understand what he was saying. They wanted to know what he meant. However, rather than ask him, they asked one another. So often when we have questions in our lives, we fail to ask the One who has the answers. Jesus said in vs. 24, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full ” (NKJV). Jesus wants us to have direct communication with Him. We don’t need to rely on books or programs or other people’s opinions to develop our relationship with God. He likes our voice, our thoughts, and our verbalizations.
We understand the desire for communication. It is disappointing to have a friend who does not return our calls or texts or who gives us a brief nod and basically ignore us the rest of the time. Communication is important to us-especially when we care about someone. It’s that way with God. We can’t consider ourselves a true friend to Him if we basically ignore Him except during crisis moments. He enjoys being recognized because He cares about us.
Communication is the foundation of relationship, including our spirit relationship with the Almighty. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, our family did not have a telephone, but when I moved away to attend college, one of the first purchases my parents made was a phone. They wanted to be able to keep in touch with me. Jesus has given us a Heavenly hotline: prayer. We can call Him anytime, and in fact, He wants us to do just that.
Jesus died for relationship between God and man. He wants us to visit with Him, and in the chatting to ask him for things. This is illustrated in a parent/child relationship. Asking tells a parent about a child. It expresses personal tastes and secret desires. It shows trust, for in the asking there is the unspoken completion to the request… “I know you’ll get it.” If my son says, “Mom, will you pick me up some whey powder the next time you go to Walmart?” I know that he’s focusing on fitness and trying to build muscle. He shares his desires with me without him-hawing around about it. He knows that whey is practically in my buggy before I even leave for the store. I’m happy to get it for him. Now if he had asked for a container of poison, he wouldn’t have asked with confidence because he would have expected an inquisition, which teenage boys typically avoid at all costs. The same is true of our asking God for things. We can be confident when we ask God for those things we know He is okay with. 1 John 5:14(KJV) “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
When a child isn’t forthcoming in making requests, sometimes a parent will initiate the conversation. It’s the reason for Christmas lists and birthday questions. We want to give to those we love, and we want to give what’s of interest to them. In this chapter of John, Jesus prompts his disciples: “Ask anything in my name.”
Matthew 21:22 (KJV) “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
Matthew 7:7-11 JV) “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Jesus told the disciples that they were about to experience trouble and pain. It would be the pain of the crucifixion, but in this conversation with them, Jesus wanted them to know that they could ask for what they needed even in HIs absence. He explained that they would face things they didn’t understand, but they could talk to God about it. Their answers would seem slow in coming, but they’d have answers in time. Jesus knew that the disciples would face the sorrow of His death before knowing the joy of His resurrection. They’d have questions. They wouldn’t understand. They’d wonder, “Why?” He told them this before they faced their trial so that in the pain and silence, they know they weren’t being ignored. That they weren’t forgotten. That answers were coming. Jesus explained that a woman in the throes of giving birth is momentarily overshadowed with clouds of anguish, but when the child is born, the pall is cast aside, and suddenly, all is awash in joyful light. Situations in our lives can be similar to the childbirth experience. Relationships can be like the childbirth experience. Communication can be like the childbirth experience. Like the disciples, we will face times of uncertainty where question marks dangle over our heads. But we don’t have to keep our questions inside, or look to someone else in confusion. We can talk to God about those moments, knowing He hears and expecting a response to our need. In fact, when we have already been talking to God about other things, it’s natural to go to him with our trouble as well. When my mother was living, I called her daily. Sometimes, we chatted about non-essential things of life, the hum-drum. But other times, she was my confidant. I shared my dreams and sorrows with her, or I ranted and raved about some injustice I perceived. Always she listened. Sometimes we giggled together; sometimes we wept; sometimes she offered help; sometimes she just listened; sometimes she corrected me. But always, I could trust her response because of her love.
I can trust God because of His love for me. I can take everything I am and all that I face to God because He loves me. He cares about what I care about. He may shine his smile upon me or offer me correction, but He will hear me.
I want to be heard, I like receiving something I’ve desired, and I enjoy giving a special treat, even if someone has had to wait for the surprise. These are God-qualities.
Communication, interaction, and serving others is how we express love, and God wants to be a participator in a love relationship with us. He prepares us for that eternal existence where we all our questions will be answered and our communication with Him will be everlasting. He walks with us and talks with us as we encounter the joys and sorrows of life. We speak directly with Him. We ask, knowing we will receive. We share and in the sharing get to know the One who loves us best, and who loves us always.