"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall fine; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
"For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
"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?"
I was pondering this passage today, knowing that some feel disappointed when they don't receive what they asked for. Some question God's love for them (or even His existence) because a prayer seemed to go unanswered. But I happen to know that all prayers are heard, recorded, and answered. I know that every one who asks will indeed receive.
As I pondered the idea of giving good gifts to my children, the remaining fragments of my mind recalled that we were almost out of bread. It's a common situation, because my daughter loves to make her own sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, and she also raids the bread box for snacks. If Emma came to me one evening and asked me for some bread after consuming half a loaf earlier in the day, I certainly would not give her a stone. But I probably wouldn't give her bread, either. I know that there are better things to give her in this situation. Maybe some string cheese. Maybe a piece of fruit. Maybe I'll surprise her with something she's never tried before, and it will become her favorite snack. Maybe it's almost dinnertime, and she should wait a little while so she can enjoy a good meal.
Somehow, some way, she is going to receive something good. She may not necessarily receive the same thing that she asked for, but it won't mean that I don't exist or that I don't love her. What she receives will be on my terms, as a parent who loves her and knows how to provide the best for her.
If I, being evil (or at least mortal and imperfect), know how to give good things to my children, how much more does my perfect Heavenly Father know how to give good things to His children when they ask Him! It may not be exactly what we asked for, which is completely understandable when we realize the limitations of our mortal perspective. What we receive might first require patience. But we will receive good things in response to our petitions. And it will be on His terms, as a parent who loves us and knows (far better than we do) how to provide the best for us.