I know what I am going to cook each night that week, what I need for each dish, what is missing from the staples in the pantry, and what is on sale where before I leave the house. Keith and I also spend a few minutes the evening before trying to think of every other piece of business I can take care of in the same trip. Used to be I had to make as many stops as the grocery store, the pharmacy, the dry cleaners, the bank, the discount store, the music store, and the office supply store, then fit the women’s Bible study in there somewhere, making certain I accomplished everything in time to be home, unloaded, dinner either in the oven or the crockpot or everything set out for a quick fix meal, and then the studio set up and ready for music students by 2:30 for four hours of instruction.
I learned to use one of the reply envelopes supplied by all the credit card companies who want us to go into debt up to our ears. I kept a stack in my kitchen drawer and each week listed all my stops, numbered for time and gas efficiency, and what I needed to do or pick up at each stop on the outside of the envelope. Inside I put coupons and claim tickets. When I came home those had been replaced with receipts and new claim tickets, depending upon what was happening that week. I seldom forgot anything thanks to my “system.”
The other day as I was talking to God, I realized that I had strayed into my shopping list format. Very matter-of-factly I was telling Him what I needed when and how I would like it served. I reminded myself of Captain Picard standing in front of the replicator in his ready room barking out, “Tea—Earl Gray—hot!” Suddenly I remembered to Whom I was talking and shivered a little. What in the world was I thinking?
God is not a grocery store. He is not a waiter at the restaurant waiting for me to make my order, giving Him extra directions so it will be exactly what I want—pastrami on rye, pressed, extra mustard, hold the mayo, slaw on the side. Yet isn’t that exactly how we treat Him sometimes? Yes, I can tell Him all my desires; in fact, He expects me to do that, and He wants to satisfy me, His child. But when I start expecting Him to parcel it out in only the way I want it, as if I can send it back with a reprimand if it doesn’t suit me, I have overstepped the bounds.
We have all seen children make their lists for birthdays and for Christmas, but don’t we all think better of the children who have learned that wanting something doesn’t mean they ought to have it, that wanting for others is even better than wanting for themselves, and that they should be grateful for whatever they receive, not complain about it.
My parents taught me to never greet a guest, especially a grandparent or favorite aunt or uncle with, “What did you bring me?”
“They might think that is the only reason you want to see them, and that would hurt their feelings,” it was explained to me. I think I need to relearn that lesson about God.
And at the evening oblation I arose up from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe rent; and I fell upon my knees and spread out my hands unto Jehovah my God, and I said, Oh my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our guiltiness is grown up unto the heavens, Ezra 9:5,6.