“Mom, could you play ‘Beautiful Day’?”
“No, we’re almost there, so I’ll have to play that song on the way home.”
Two seconds later…
“Mom, could you play ‘Beautiful Day’?”
“Uh… Lone Ranger, I just answered your question. We’re almost at Aunt Mo’s, so I’m going to play the song on the way home.”
“Ohhhh, I didn’t hear you!”
“What does Mommy say…?”
As a chorus, the Think Tank, Songbird, Lone Ranger, and Maven intone, “Listen for the answer!”
Yes, my little people, listen for the answer.
That scenario is a daily event in our household. It may not be about what music I’m going to play from my iPhone; it could be questions about the lunch menu, if they can play outside, whether or not they can watch television, if I will count while they jump rope… Whatever the case, they generally ask me the question one million times (and yes, just me, and not their dad sitting peacefully in the corner, undisturbed) and just when they tug on my leg for the tenth time or form their lips to pose the question for the one million and first (oneth?) time, I yell, “You asked me; I answered. Now, listen for the answer!” And though the situation is oft repeated, they always gaze at me in shock that their request was answered, that I responded quite appropriately, immediately, and completely.
Sometimes my kids do hear me, but they give up hope because it takes me a minute to fulfill the request. For instance, Brown Sugar will ask, “Can I have some water?” She’s too small to reach the pitcher, so that translates to “Will you pour me some water?” I say, “Yes, Brown Sugar,” but I don’t move to get it because I’m teaching or cooking or catching my breath since fulfilling the last request. If I take a second longer than she’s deemed necessary, she will ask again, “Will you pour me some water?” The “now” is understood, kind of like that pesky “You” in grammar—in other words, she’s tired of waiting.
And such as it is with God.
That message hit me this morning during the latest play-by-play. I whine, beg, plead, supplicate…ask my heavenly Father for one thing or another. I’ve got the seeking thing down; it’s the finding that’s giving me trouble. The waiting, the hearing, even the receiving. Yet when God answers me, directly and resoundingly, I’m shocked. Do I ask just to hear myself whine…um, excuse me, talk? Do I not expect to be heard? Much like my children, am I too busy moving to the band playing in my own head to hear the sweet music of God’s voice? Am I like Brown Sugar? When I do hear Him answer, I get tired of waiting, tired of trusting. I want it NOW!
Lately, I’ve been focused on one specific thing, and I know He answered me. It was not just a “yes,” but an “Of course, My child!” It was “Here you go, and isn’t this more than you expected?” Yes, it was more than I expected, and therein lies the rub. At first, I rejoiced. I mean, God actually heard my cry! I’m not sure how He could have missed it, as I returned to His feet night and day, moaning and groaning, pointing out all the reasons behind my request—tugging on His leg if you will—just in case He didn’t know which of my needs were going unmet. I really took to heart the scriptures about “Make all your requests known to God” and the parable about the persistent widow. After all, the Bible says, “…Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
But still, He had to remind me, “Dear heart, listen for My answer. Didn’t you hear Me? Don’t you trust My Word?” for after I rejoiced, I doubted. Even though His response exactly met my needs, I wondered if it was from Him. And again, I laid my fleece back out on the ground, sopping wet, praying for Him to light a fire.
Well, He did light a fire. Not in the bushes in the yard or on a piece of sheepskin, but in my heart. Often it merely smolders, putting out mostly smoke instead of heat; sometimes its fervent flames burn me from the inside out. Now, I’m listening, looking, and waiting to hear Him, but more importantly, I’m believing and trusting no matter how many doubters attempt to douse my fire or how much rap music tries to drown out the angelic orchestra playing in my ears.
Some people might illustrate this point using the story about the man clinging to the side of the mountain, asking God to save him. God sends a helicopter, a boat, a plane, etc., but the man falls from the mountain and dies because he kept waiting for God to help him, and he didn’t recognize that it was God who had sent assistance. But that story isn’t exactly it. When you’re listening for the answer, you’re not going to get a “yes,” “no,” and a “maybe.” It’s going to be one and not the other. He won’t send all those means of transportation if all He wants you to do is let go of the weak branch holding you on to the mountain so He can catch you Himself. After all, He’s the one who either let you fall of the cliff or gave you a gentle push over the side.
Sometimes the answer is a miracle. And it’s always perfect. It’s a one-size fits-you type of thing. But you have to let go and believe and recognize it. And when He says, “[Insert your name here],” be like Samuel and simply respond, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” Even if it’s too good to be true, it’s never too good to be God.