St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

We Know

Podcast Version

1 John 5:14-15—This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Our lives are always filled with a bunch of unknowns. There are some that are pretty standard that don’t cause us much, if any, concern. “What will work be like today?” “What new thing will I learn in school?” “I wonder what’s for dinner?” But then there are individual unknowns that can cause all kinds of worry and heartache. “Will she say yes?” “What does this diagnosis mean for my future?” “What if he won’t sit down to work things out?”

While each of us has our own unknowns, we’re all still caught together in a world filled with unknowns. The Coronavirus and its effects are still largely an unknown. “Will I get sick?” “When can we get back to normal?” The protests, riots, and course some would have us take have recently created a new set of unknowns for all of us. “Am I a racist?” “What really is the problem?” “What is this country going to look like in the next few months and years?”

The unknown abounds. At any time, but especially in times that seem to be dominated by the unknown, both personal and together, how important to turn to what is known!

We know God’s love for us. We know God gave his Son to rescue us and to provide a permanent home for us in heaven when we’re done tenting here in this life. We know God has a plan for our eternal good, even if we cannot see all the details.

But there is one other thing that is so important for you to remember which you do know. You know that you can approach God with any concern. You know that whatever you ask which conforms to his will, he not only hears you, he answers and gives it to you!

That’s why John wrote:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Now, you might say, “Well that certainly hasn’t been my experience!” And there is the crux of the matter. By saying and thinking this, you are basing your belief on what you think you know as opposed to what God, who cannot lie, has said and promised to you in his holy Word.

Notice that John says
if we ask anything according to his will. To ask for something according to God’s will is to ask God either for something he has specifically promised us, or for something that aligns with his holy will. To ask for something improper or sinful isn’t an acceptable prayer. If your teenager has been drinking and then asked for the keys to the car, you wouldn’t give them the keys. It’s an improper request in multiple ways. On the other hand, if your sober teenager asks for the keys, you might tell them you need the car first. It’s an appropriate request, and the answer is still yes even though they have to wait.

Sometimes we think God’s answers “yes,” “no,” and “wait.” When it’s proper prayer, the answer is always yes, even if from our perspective it’s “wait.” Think of all the prayers you’ve prayed for health or deliverance from danger. Some of those have been answered exactly how you hoped. But sometimes a loved one dies or danger lingers. It’s important for us to take God’s point of view on this. He lives in eternity. The ultimate deliverance from disease and danger always happens in our death and we go safely home to heaven. In fact, that’s the best and ultimate answer to those prayers because then it’s absolute and complete without any possibility of being threatened again with disease or death!

Friends, in these times of so many unknowns, do what you know you can do—pray. Pray to your gracious heavenly Father because you know he will always hear you and answer you in the way and time that is best for you. Pray to your Savior Jesus, because you know he proved your Father’s love to you by answering the greatest prayer,
Lord, save me! (Mt. 14:30). Pray to your comforting companion, God the Holy Spirit, because you know he is the only one who can fill your heart with peace found only in God’s Word.