I remember the good old days when a ringing phone was an incredibly joyful sound. Mostly because it meant someone wanted to talk to you! How times have changed! Over the years, I’ve watched as many of us have become accustomed to using text, photos and emojis to communicate with one another. Shocking to realize this about myself, but I notice that I too have become more and more annoyed with the interruption that a call will make into my day. At times, though, I will see an incoming call from one of my kids, a friend, or an extended family member, and am usually laughing or smiling as I put the phone to my ear to begin a conversation. It is so much more fun (in my opinion) to laugh right along with someone over the phone instead of sending an “LOL” or smiley face back and forth. My husband can tell who I’m talking to just by the way I’m laughing and the depth of my engagement in the conversation!
Caller ID makes it possible to decide whether or not you are able to (or desire to) take the incoming call. If I’m in line at the grocery store and the dentist is calling to confirm my appointment, I can take that call and conclude it in less than 20 seconds. But, if it’s my 91 year-old mother-in-law, I will have to delay talking to her until I can get home and focus on the conversation and shout into the phone if she doesn’t have her hearing aids in. I would not subject the general public to my side of that conversation!
Once or twice a year, I get a phone call from a long-lost someone. It could be a relative or a lifelong friend. History has prepared me for the fact that this person typically calls me when she needs something. It could be as big a need as airline miles, money, or mission trip support to something as small as selling me some Girl Scout cookies or asking for a ride to the airport.
Today it crossed my mind that I hadn’t spoken with “Darla” for a couple of years now (Facebook is partly to blame for this, but that is a whole other blog entry). She was one that used to call only when she needed help from me or my husband. And then it hit me: I DO THAT TOO. The only difference is, I don’t do it to my fellow human beings. Oh no, I’m much worse than that! I do it to Jesus. Yep! Guilty! When my selfish wants take priority over my daily communication with the Lord, I go for long stretches with no communication at all, and then when I need something, I call on Jesus to help me out. When I get a call from someone operates that way with me, I will let it go to voicemail so that I can have time to process what they might be calling about. What if Jesus used that same tactic with us? I know it feels that way when we don’t get an instant solution to our problem, but the truth is, He’s okay with us needing Him. Yes, you heard right; Jesus is OKAY with us needing Him. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
If my needy caller was in a two-way relationship with me where we had a balanced relationship and regular communication, imagine how ready and willing I would be to answer her call and come to the rescue? A healthy relationship is one that is nourished regularly. Although Jesus wants us to come to Him when we are in trouble, He delights in the praises of His people. Surely we can praise Him today! I’m reminding myself daily and sometimes moment-by-moment to be in constant communication and relationship with Him so that He knows my needs even before I have to voice them, and He is already “at work for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28)
Stephanie Parker is a teacher to students of all ages across many disciplines and lives in the Atlanta area with her husband Rob.