What a joyous message we find in today’s passage! Our heavenly Father wants to give us good things. This idea stands in stark contrast to the angry God that many people picture in their minds when the topic of religion arises. One of the central themes of Jesus’ ministry, evident in the very Incarnation itself, is this God is not mad at you. The most famous passage in the New Testament bears this out “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
Now, right away the objection to this might be that God can be mad at us and still do loving things, much like human parents who are angry with their children still feed them, clothe them, and so forth. Then, there is the question of sin. Certainly, and this must be said unequivocally, God is not pleased with sin or iniquity. God wills us to not sin, and it must be taken with the utmost seriousness as the Lord Jesus repeatedly teaches. But God is not a brooding overlord. He is not a moody Greek god. He does not look upon His children to see which of them messed up and which ones are going to get their comeuppance. These ideas are rooted in the supposition that God and man are somehow in competition with each other. This extends to thinking that man can hurt God in some way by sinning or evil, and so God (it may be thought) is just waiting to retaliate. I submit these are mistaken notions of God and creatures.
The radical difference in the way God exists and creatures exist is such that there can be no competition. God is the very fullness of being and life, He is being itself. Creatures have or possess being in an individuated, contingent manner. All creatures exist by participation in the goodness and being of God, as He so grants. We are not autonomous units running around on our own power. As St. Paul says in Acts 17:28, “in Him we live and move and have our being.” If in God we have our life and being, then He ultimately directs our lives to Himself. God desires what is good and best for us, and nothing could be better than God. If we seek after Him, we will find Him. If we knock, He will open the door. He will even go out into the highways and byways to find us and invite us into fellowship! God wants to give us good things. He wants to give us Himself and eternal life in His Kingdom.
The glorious revelation of God in Christ is that if we want to know the Father, we just look at the Son. What is God like? Look to Jesus. Did Jesus give us good things? The very best! The most He could possibly give. God is not mad at us. He is not sitting around waiting for the opportune time to get us back for our wrongs. He lovingly and patiently calls us to repentance and faith.