How many times do we usually pray in a day? How many conversations do we have with a Father who loves us more than anything else? If you are like me, I call many more times when things are difficult than when they are going well. That may be normal, but does that make it right? Any parent worth the name wants his child to call when he needs help, would, in fact, be angry if he did not receive such a call, but it certainly goes down better when those calls come at other times too, doesn’t it?
Solomon set forth the principle in Proverbs when he personified wisdom as a woman offering her gift to any who needed it. Too few take her up on the offer and she says, Because I have called and you refused to listen, I have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me, Prov 1:24-28.
Oh, but that would never happen with God, some will say. Jesus loves everyone, even the vilest sinner. Neither will ever refuse to help someone who asks. Listen to the words God spoke through Isaiah to his chosen people, who continually fell away, repented when times got hard, only to fall away yet again. I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter, because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in, Isa 65:12.
We want this relationship to be one with a revolving door-- we can come in and out of it as we please. We want to live like we choose to live and then come running to God for help when our foolish choices bring us pain and misery. We expect Him to snatch us from the jaws of disaster and make everything right again. That’s what He’s supposed to do! But God will not tolerate being used; He has a right to expect certain behavior from us. Even if He were not so good to us, He is still our Creator and that gives Him the ultimate authority in everything we do. Perhaps one of the biggest dangers of living in a democracy is thinking we have rights when it comes to our dealings with an Almighty God.
Are you like the catbird who only comes calling when times are tough, or are you there every day, building a relationship with your Father through constant communication, obedience, and dependence? Maybe you should make an appointment with Him sometime in the next few minutes.
They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them…Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble, Jer 11:10,14.
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