Psalm 69:3 “I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” NIV
Ephesians 6:18 “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” The Message
My youngest son called from Afghanistan yesterday. The first thing he asked was if we had moved. Say what???? It seems that the reason we had not heard from him over the Christmas holiday was because he was dialing the wrong number. He was frustrated and had left numerous messages on someone else’s phone. Now let’s review this for a minute. He has called three times since arriving in Afghanistan. He has my number, my sweethearts number, and all of his siblings phone numbers. He has spoken to us all each time. Yet, for some reason known only to him, he randomly picked out a number my sweetheart used at a job he held 3 years ago. Not to mention the fact that he left a message on a phone with a man’s voice giving someone else’s name. Sometimes you just want to stand next to a wall and bang your head repeatedly. It’s a good thing we love these children of ours. In case you are wondering, he is doing fine although cold, dirty and homesick. He had his first shower in three months and his first meal that didn’t come from a plastic MRE bag. So he was marginally happy. Whenever I think that my life is hard because I can’t get my coffee to taste right, I remind myself of what youngest son goes through every day as he protects my freedoms.
There are times when I am certain that I am dialing a wrong number when I am reaching out to my Father in Heaven. I grow frustrated with repeated calls and lengthy messages. I stomp through the house muttering about how no one understands what I have to deal with and even God has decided to stop talking to me. I pick up another book, read another devotional, listen to more praise music. I write another check, share another meal, shake another hand. Yet my phone sits silent in my hand. Where are you God? Why aren’t you answering me? Why can’t I get through to you? I cry and beg and plead. I stomp and rant and rage. And then, when I am broken and on my knees, crying out with my own words to Him, He tenderly touches my face and whispers the words I need.
The problem wasn’t that I was not getting through to God. God knew my need well enough. The problem was that I was trying to replace His phone number with someone else’s. He doesn’t want me to read someone else’s prayer to him, use someone else’s words to speak to him, or mimic the woman I see in the video. Don’t get me wrong. All of those things are wonderful and can help us in our walk as we seek Him and seek to understand Him. I read every book I can get my hands on, I love Proverbs 31 ministry devotionals, and I adore Beth Moore’s bible studies. But if I really really want to know my God, if I really want to understand Him, if I really want to make that one on one connection with Him, I need to read His words. I need to pick up His book to find His number. I can use all the tools available to me to understand the words found within that most perfect of books, the Bible. I can attend Bible study classes, I can use a daily devotional book, and I can talk with other Christians who can help me see things more clearly. But when I am on my knees, when I am calling on Him for a need that I have, when I beg Him to return my call, it’s the words of my heart that will reach Him.
God is always there. Always watching, always listening. When I was a little girl, my mom used to tell me that I could pretend I was using a special phone when I said my prayers. I might not hear His voice but I could be sure that He would hear mine. Now that I am grown, I still sometimes picture myself holding that special phone while talking to my Father. I will never reach a wrong number when I speak to Him from my heart. My special phone to Him will never be left on a bus, washed in the washer, or my personal favorite, chewed up and swallowed by my dog. He will always receive my texts, always get my voice mail, and always return my calls promptly. I just have to be willing to accept what He has to say. Sometimes I don’t like His return call and I say that He never answered me. But the truth is, He did call back. He just left a message I didn’t agree with. He never dials a wrong number.
In these days of information overload, we often tend to try to hear with someone else’s ears, listen to someone else’s message, and speak with someone else’s voice. Let us stop and go back to the beginning. Ask God anything you want. Write Him a letter from your heart. Listen with the ears of a child. Accept His message to you. Use all the help you want to learn about Him and His words to you. But to hear directly from Him and to speak to Him, go straight to the source, your Abba. You will never get a busy signal. And unlike my son, you will never have to ask Him if He moved!!