Thursday, May 16, 2019

When Asking Isn’t a Risk

Have you ever seen one of those public marriage proposals at an athletic contest, when some guy in the stands arranges to have the camera trained on him and his lady love when he decides to drop to a knee and pop the question? Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if she stepped away in horror and shouted, “No way, Jose!”? As many times as those PDAs (public displays of affection) have been done, I suppose it has happened at least once or twice. I’d hate to be that guy.

Long ago I swore off punishing myself by watching “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” since they’re such a mockery of what love truly is, but I suspect an occasional repelled proposal has taken place in a climactic episode, if for no other reason than to boost ratings.

Several weeks ago I attended Ohio State’s annual spring football game, which was little more than a glorified intra-squad scrimmage. But the halftime break was highlighted by one of those, “Will you marry me?” moments. Drue Chrisman, the Buckeyes’ punter, arranged to have his girlfriend on the field so he could pop the question in front of 62,000 Scarlet and Gray-clad fans. To make sure everyone had a good view of the proceedings, the proposal was even shown on the huge stadium video screen. 

Predictably, she gave him a tear-filled “Yes!” and the crowd erupted with applause. Again I wondered, what if Chrisman’s girlfriend has said no, or even taken some time to think it over? That would have been awkward, wouldn’t it?

But of course, even though he might have felt a butterfly or two, the Buckeye kicker already knew how she would respond. So getting down on one knee must not have been all that hard. He wasn’t taking a risk. Asking questions like that are easy when you already know the answer.

This is why the words of Jesus Christ should give us such confidence and comfort. For instance, knowing the day of His crucifixion was fast approaching, the Lord desired to assure His closest followers that they wouldn’t be abandoned. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).

Wanting them to understand that God is not distant and unreachable, Jesus taught them how to pray expectantly. He told of a man who finally agreed to provide assistance because of a friend’s persistent requests, then assured His disciples that their prayerful petitions would be much more readily received. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).

Often we approach the Lord tentatively, as if we’re afraid to bother Him with our needs and concerns. “God, I know You’re busy and all, having the whole universe to manage and oversee. But if it’s not too much trouble, if you wouldn’t mind….” However, the writer of Hebrews observes that just as a child has easy access to a loving father, day or night, no matter what, we shouldn’t hesitate in bringing our requests to the Lord.
“For we do not have a high priests who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

We talk about having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” and that’s what passages like these underscore. Unlike religions that assert that their deity is unknowable, our Christian faith is based on the assurance that God is personal, present and responsive.

So like the prospective groom who on bended knee asks for the hand of the woman he loves, confident he knows what her answer will be, we can approach the Lord with even greater confidence based on the promises we find in the Scriptures, coupled with His faithful, unwavering character. 

As Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). There’s no risk involved.

No comments: