Menus, Runarounds, and VIPs

Photo by Alex Andrews from Pexels

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. —Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV

Making a phone call to a business these days has become a traumatic event. For me anyway. If I don’t get a canned voice telling me to “listen to the following menu options” and press this or say that to indicate what I’m calling for, I get the runaround.

I just hate it when I press the appropriate number and get still another confounded menu. While a recorded message spews out numerous choices, I stare at piles of work clamoring to get done and hear precious, unused seconds tick away. All too often, none of the selections relate to what I’m calling about, and there’s no option to speak to a breathing, thinking person.

“I want to talk to a real, live human being!” I once shouted into the phone.

“I’m sorry,” the pleasant, disembodied voice on the other end responded. “I do not recognize your answer. Will you repeat it, please?”

Yeah, I’ll repeat it, I thought, slamming down the phone, and a whole lot more.

Then there’s the old runaround. One time I called the financial aid office of my son’s college (for the third time in two weeks) to ask where our way-overdue refund check was. They politely patched me through to the business office, which tried to pass me back to the financial aid office. When that didn’t work, the nice lady on the other end told me the check was coming out of Rhode Island.

“Rhode Island?” I sputtered, trying not to scream.“That’ll take another week!”

“I understand your frustration,” she said, trying to calm me down.

She didn’t get it. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. What I wanted to hear was, “I’ll find out where your check is and get right back to you.”

But how rarely that happens these days.

Fortunately, God doesn’t use menus and screens, human or angel, to keep people from getting through to Him. He invites and even welcomes our calls to Him—and promises to answer.

“Call to Me, and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3).

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15).

“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7–11).

He hears and answers because He cares intensely for each one of us. In His eyes, you are not merely a complaining voice at the other end wanting something. You are His child. He yearns to hear from you and lavish you with His love and care.

So call Him.

In today’s high-tech world, where it’s nearly impossible to get through to the person who has the power to help us, it’s good to know that the most important VIP of all is only a prayer away.

Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray, and cry aloud, and You will hear my voice. Thank you, Lord! Amen. (Psalm 55:17)

Read and reflect on Nehemiah 2:1–8.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

In the Waiting Room

Read and reflect on Psalm 13.

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD. —Psalm 27:14 NKJV

The phone rang while my husband and I were having supper. It was our youngest son, David.

“I’m on my way to the hospital,” he said. “I broke my arm playing first base.”

My heart sank. After enduring shoulder surgery and months of physical therapy a year and a half earlier, David, a pitcher, had worked hard to get back in form. The coach for his summer league team had been playing him on first and third bases for the games between his starts, planning to use him on the mound for the must-win games.

Nearly three hours later, David called back. The bone just above the wrist on his left arm—not his pitching arm, thank heaven—was broken clear through and was out of place.

“I have to come back to the hospital tomorrow for surgery to put the bone back in place,” he said. “I might need pins.”

After we hung up, I packed my bag for the next day with plenty of reading material, a crossword puzzle book, bottles of water and juice, and fruit. I knew it would be a long day in the hospital waiting room. There was nothing I could do but wait for the outcome — and worry how we’d replace the income from his summer construction job. Now, instead of playing in the big tournament or putting away money for school, he’d be nursing a broken arm, waiting for it to heal in time for fall ball.

More time is spent in life’s waiting rooms, I think, than on the field of play. Like the psalmist, I often cry, “How long, O LORD? How long? Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1)

I don’t like being benched in a waiting room, but I’m learning to deal with it. And I’m learning to deal with the disappointment, confusion, frustration, and anger that accompany the waiting. Oh, the emotions aren’t as intense as they once were, but still they pop up, undermining the faith that’s the foundation of my life: “Do you really believe God protects you and those you love? Maybe you didn’t pray enough. Maybe it’s all a lie.”

That’s when I open my Bible and do my faith-strengthening exercises. I like Psalms for low-faith times because the writer plumbs the depths of emotions that we, too, experience. Voicing his anguish and looking for answers that seem too long in coming, he reaches a turning point, where his questions collide head-on with faith: “But I trust in your unfailing love; and my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5–6).

Maybe waiting time isn’t wasting time, after all. For the lessons learned in the waiting room and the work God does in us while we wait are much more valuable than the answer we think we should have. For the harder a thing is to attain, the greater will be the triumph.

When the questions are hard and the answers don’t come, when my faith falters and my beliefs grow brittle, remind me, Lord, the waiting room is where faith grows best. Amen.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay