This past week I received a call from my daughter and my 2 grand girls but I was busy at work so I was not able to answer the phone. When I finished what I was doing, I called them back and was greeted by a 3-year-old Chloe asking why I didn’t pick up when they called. “Where were you Nonna?” After explaining that I had been busy she repeated the same question, as she wanted to understand why I didn’t answer the phone. Her mom, Sara, tried to explain that they would leave me a message and I would return their call later when I had the opportunity, however Chloe could not comprehend what voicemail was so she remained fixated on why I did not answer their call. She can be very persistent.
Living in an instant gratification culture can carry over into my spiritual life as well. Sometimes it is easy to get into a habit that God is like a vending machine. Just as we deposit a coin into the machine to get a snack, we offer a pray request to God and expect an answer immediately. Not only do we want an answer but also we want a particular answer that we think it best for us. When our answer doesn’t come at once or it is not the answer that we are looking for we can get frustrated and stop praying because we don’t have time to wait on God’s timing. I will admit that any number of times when I didn’t feel that God was not giving me a instant response, I have asked God if he was napping and was not paying attention. I mentioned my frustration with waiting and whether God might be of napping to one of my close friends and she turned the table on me and fired the question back at me. “Are you taking a nap?” At that time I wasn’t expecting that or in a good place to want to hear those words but that is what friends are for right? They offer a different perspective that can help shake us out of the same narrative and offer a fresh look at our prayer demands and expectations.
Another thought popped into my head, could God be wondering where I have been recently? Maybe God was wondering why I have not been spending time in prayer and conversation with him. Have I been too busy doing important stuff like work, walking, and chatting with family and friends to make time for God? Taking some time to be still? One of my favorite verses from the Book of Psalms states, “Be still, and know that I am God.” These are just words until I take them seriously and actually become still or motionless, completely quiet. How can I possibly hear God speak if I am never still? In the Old Testament book of 1Kings Elijah met God on Mount Horeb and even though he thought God would speak to him in the mighty wind or the ferocious fire or the impressive earthquake, God revealed God’s self in the “sound of sheer silence,” God did not show up in power and might but in the quiet. Elijah and God met in the silence. In that stillness Elijah knew God was present.
So in this busy high-tech instant culture that demands our responses immediately, do we make time to be still and listen for God’s small voice? Do we shut down our animated minds to sit in the silence and be at rest in order to give God our full attention? My sweet grand girls will always have my attention when they call. My heart is filled with love when I listen to their chatter. I wonder if it is the same for God? Is the Almighty heart touched with love and affection when I bare my heart with prayers of thanksgiving, fear, unrest, trust or even chuckle when I ask if he is napping? Does God look at me and say the words that he said to Isaiah, “Here is my servant, whom I have strengthened. Here is the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased.” Just as I look forward to chatting with my Finley and Chloe about their day, God anticipates our conversations about my daily adventures. Oh the tales I have to tell…