Sunday, November 20, 2011

You've Got Mail

"The people read it and were glad 
   for its encouraging message"
Acts 15:31

There’s something wrong with our answering machine.  The red light is blinking like we’ve got a message, but there’s no message.   It’s driving me crazy.  I keep trying, just in case.  I push the button to receive the messages, but there’s nothing there to receive.  And yet the light keeps blinking.   So then I just give up and walk away, but the next time I walk by it and see the light blinking, it starts driving me crazy again.  I think it’s something about closure.  

An answering machine is a handy device, though, isn’t it?  Makes life a little more efficient.  Do you remember the “olden” days, when you would call someone, and the phone would just ring and ring and ring.  You’d wait ten rings, then hang up, and try again later.  Now, we can play “phone tag” and the other person will know they are “it”.  We’ve done our part, now the ball is in their court.  (Did I just use a “tag” analogy and a “tennis” analogy in the span of two sentences?  English is a strange language…)

Or you can leave the whole message, and be done with the matter entirely.  “Sorry, we can’t make it to the party.   But we’ll see you Sunday at church.”  No call backs necessary, and I can get back to cleaning stuff off of my kitchen counter.  Efficient! 

And that made me start thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if God did that?   If He had a little red light, on my nightstand, or on my Bible that He could light up when He had a message for me?   You know how it is when you’ve been praying about something, looking for an answer, trying to make a decision, or to know if you should go left or right.  Sometimes it takes a lot of praying to arrive at an answer.   It would be so helpful if you could wake up in the morning, see that little red light blinking, and know that today, He would have the answer for you.

But immediately after that, I started thinking, “Well, really, He does.”  I mean, He doesn’t have a little red light, but He has a message.  Every morning.  Actually, several times a day.   The problem is ~ well, there are two problems. 

The first problem is, that the message He has for us in His Word, is not necessarily on the topic that's uppermost in our minds.   I might be praying for strength, and turn to a passage to read, and find that it's a passage on His sovereignty.  Not what I was looking for.  And yet ~ exactly what I was looking for.  Because if I'm feeling weak, that's when He's the strongest in me.  His strength is made perfect in weakness. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)  So by all means, look to His Word for the answers to your questions; the solutions to your problems.  But don't be surprised if those messages don't look like you thought they would.  

The second problem is, that we don't even bother listening to the message He has for us.  I will tell you that I honestly believe that reading His Word is the single most important thing I can do.  For my day, for  my family, for my life, for my growth... and yet there are many, many days I don't "bother".  Too tired, too busy, too forgetful.  And I'm sure there's times when I think that I really have nothing to gain from it.  Or rather, that I'll get more out of crossing things off my to-do list.  I see the Bible lying on my table, but I don't see a red light blinking, so I get on with my day.  God could have a message for me on the subject of courage, or obedience, or faith, or love, or suffering, or peace, or joy.... you get the idea.  

Even if my Bible did come with a blinking red light, it would never go off.  No matter how often I read something, the red light would tell me there was something else I could read.  And I would simply become inured to the light.  Which leaves me where I am.  The power is mine ~ to see the Bible, to open it, to read it, to study it, to remember it.  His communication with me never ceases.  But it is quiet and unobtrusive.  No blinking lights, so ringing bells.  Just a still, small voice, waiting for me to listen.

~ "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, 
I will come in to him and dine with him, 
and he with Me" ~
Revelation 3:20

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