The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps 145:18)
“All our lines are currently busy,” says the detached voice. ” Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line, and one of our representatives will be with you as soon as possible.”
“As soon as possible” is sometimes not soon at all. And that’s after listening to a series of options and trying to figure out which numbers fit the predetermined categories. Sigh!
There seem to be such barriers today to accessing help, advice, or service; roadblocks to talking to a real person who responds to our specific needs. It can take days to reach the doctor’s office, weeks or months to get an appointment. When you phone a business help line, it’s usual to be greeted with an expected wait time.
In this age of “instant communication,” reaching anyone other than your family and friends (and that’s with a text message and not actual conversation) is anything but instant.
One of my cousins used to say about his neighborhood that, from there, “Heaven is just a local call.” The truth is that when we call on God, we get through immediately. No recorded voice, no keys to press, no wait time, no explanations required. He speaks our language and knows our need before we utter a single syllable. God never cuts us off, re-routes our call, or has to check with His supervisor. We have the privilege of speaking with the ultimate authority, right here, right now.
As with all great privileges, this one shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our tendency is to view something freely given as somehow less valuable than what we have to earn or strive for. We can’t earn God’s love, or work harder to merit a relationship with Him. He loves us because He is our Father. It’s as His children that we have access to Him every second of every day.
The privilege of access is part of every loving relationship. We will always take a call from someone we love and are eager to hear from. It’s natural to give our loved ones priority. I know that when I call my opthamologist for an eye appointment, I’ll get in without delay. That’s not because he’s got a clear calendar, but because he’s my brother. He’ll stay late to see me, or any family member, because we have a special relationship. Unlike my brother, God our Father can do this for every person who calls on Him. His office hours are unlimited, as is His love, care and concern.
The problem of access isn’t on God’s side of this equation. He doesn’t need to manage demand by restricting the number of calls or their duration. The problem is that we don’t make as many calls as would benefit us. Before we call, we try to fix things ourselves. We either don’t read the instructions He’s given us, or don’t follow them, before we make our own plans. By the time we reach out to Him, it’s more like a 911 call.
A second problem is that when we do call, the conversation is completely one-sided. We do all the talking and then hang up. We don’t take the time to listen — and that’s our biggest hang-up. If we get frustrated when we can’t get through to someone when we need to, imagine how frustrated God must be when He can’t get through to us!
Hearing from God takes focus, searching and patience. Here is where waiting is a good thing — not at the front end of the call, but at the back.
Focusing on who God is — on how deeply He loves me, how patient He is with me despite my stumbles, how much He wants an intimate relationship with me — helps to bring a peace that allows me to just luxuriate in His presence. Searching my heart in the light of His Word is illuminating in more ways than one. Remembering that He will work all things together for good reinforces for me that I can trust His timing, even when all appearances are to the contrary.
“Call to me and I will answer you . . .” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Call on your Father early and often. You’ll be glad you did.