Good Nature of God – He Heals
No child of God should ever doubt that when he prays to God out of real need his prayer will be answered. Believers of all ages have wondered whether or not God really answers prayers, especially when their requests have not been granted. While God is sovereign, He has made it clear that He is willing and able to oblige the requests of His creation on account of their right relationship with Christ. In so doing, God uses the prayers of believers to accomplish His will for their lives and for the world. Prayer changes things and people. The way that God answers prayers can be compared with and contrasted to the way that a friend answers the urgent needs of his companion, and a father answers the requests of his children.
At the heart of the parable in Luke 11:5-13 compares the persistence of the man requesting food for his visitor to the way that believers should approach God in prayer with their real needs, e.g. the Holy Spirit. At the end of the parable, Jesus contrasts the nature of evil men to the good nature of God. This passage provides enlightenment on several important theological concepts: human sin, God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.
The parable of Luke 11:5-13 describes a man who obtains his inconvenient request from his friend because of his persistence in asking, seeking, and knocking. Thus, the parable compares this incident to the way that believers should be in approaching God with their real needs. On the other hand, the elaboration of the parable contrasts the nature of man as being sometimes reluctant to give to a person in need, while the nature of God is such that He is always able and willing to give good things to his children, especially the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Though this world has been corrupted by sin, especially in family relationships, the vast majority of fathers want to give good gifts to their children. A father takes pride in his own children and wants to see that they are taken care of well and grow properly. Fathers not only want to see that their children’s needs are met, but they delight in seeing that the little ones are happy in receiving the good things of life. Not all fathers have the capability to give as good a gift as they would like, but out of love, they each have a longing and a desire to give that which would benefit their children; yet, some fathers are occasionally reluctant to give until it is more convenient or until it becomes a necessity. When a child asks for something out of necessity, the father will do everything in his power to give his child the thing that was asked for or at least an equivalent. On the other hand, if the child asks for something that is detrimental, the father who has more experience and wisdom will lovingly decline the request that is made. In such a case, the father does answer the request but not necessarily to the child’s liking.
Similarly, God is the heavenly Father of all those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior. All believers are therefore spiritual children of God and have the privilege and responsibility of asking God for the needs of life. Many comparisons can be made between the nature of a natural father-son relationship and the nature of God’s relationship to believers. Just as a natural father loves to give to his children, the heavenly Father also loves to give to his children. On the contrary, God is a perfect father and is therefore always able and willing to do even more than a natural father would and give good gifts to his children.
God desires that believers have assurance that He will surely meet their real needs when they pray. He is always capable and willing to give a good gift when it is clearly beneficial to His child and in accordance with His will. God knows people’s needs better than they do and He is gracious and generous with His provisions. God may not always give what is requested or expected, but He will always respond in a kind, loving, good, and wise way.
If a believer does not receive from God what he has requested in prayer immediately, it could be because the request is not in accordance with God’s good will for that person or the recipient of the prayer and God has something even better for him, but it could also be because Jesus desires for us to persist in prayer. Jesus desires for believers to be earnest and persevere in prayer when they are certain that their request is necessary. This persistence shows faith, commitment, and sincerity to God.
Jesus reiterates the necessity of persevering by commanding believers to continue asking, continue seeking, and continue knocking. Jesus desires for believers to begin by humbly asking for their needs and to continue until a response is given by their Father in heaven. They must seek by tenaciously praying and doing all that is in their own power to prepare themselves to receive the answer. Believers must knock figuratively by urgently striking heaven’s door with their sincere prayers until God opens the door and they have obtained an answer to their request. Jesus wants believers to have determination in getting their answer, for this shows true faith in a God who can and will respond. Because God is a loving heavenly Father, believers can be assured that their persistent prayers will be answered out of God’s goodness and wisdom, especially when they pray for the Holy Spirit.
These days, I come across so many believers facing various kinds of health challenges. The New Testament makes it clear that healing is a sign to the world that the kingdom of God is invading the domain of darkness under Satan’s rule. That’s why Jesus went about “teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (St. Matthew 4:23). It is why when Jesus sent out the twelve and later the seventy-two, he “gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” St. Luke 9: 1-2, 10:9). Healing is meant to bear witness to the proclaimed gospel (Acts 14:3). If we believe that God answers our prayers always (not always as we think he will, but nevertheless always), we naturally must have a heartfelt desire to thank him. We can thank him even during the prayer: “I thank you, Lord, that even now you are sending you healing love and power and are answering our prayer.” Our attitude should be that of St. Paul: “There is no need to worry but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6). Our God is a Powerful Good God!