Mayo! Pick up the phone!"
Recognizing my mother-in-law's voice on the answering machine, I remained at my computer, wanting to finish the article I was working on. I knew I could get back to her later.
"She's probably sitting at that computer of hers," I heard her mumble to my father-in-law as she hung up.
I smiled, thankful the answering machine allows me to screen calls when I'm in the middle of a project and don't want to be interrupted.
Sometimes, however, my answering machine brings frustration. That same afternoon, after running errands in town, I checked for messages. One was from a beloved frienda mentor who'd had a profound impact on my life as a young woman. He and his wife live in another state and it had been years since I'd seen him. The message said, "Hi, Mayo, I was just passing through town and hoped we could have a cup of coffee together. Sorry I missed you."
My disappointment was so acute, I dropped to the floor in tears. "Oh God," I cried, "why couldn't I have been home when he called? You know how much I would have loved talking to him!"
Immediately God sent the thought, What about MY calls to you? Do you ever mind missing them?
Sometimes, I treat God the way I treat my mother-in-law. He gets pushed down to the bottom of my priority list because I know I can always get back to him later.
Modern technology has provided us with answering machines, faxes, call waiting, pagers, e-mail, and voice mail, all in the hopes of making communication more convenient. But none of them enhances my communication with Godand in many instances, they hamper it.
While I've never put a caller on hold while I talk to God, I don't hesitate to interrupt my prayer to answer the phone. When I think about it, how audacious it is to put Almighty God on hold! I'm grateful for a loving, merciful Father who doesn't hang up on me no matter how long I keep him waiting. Putting God on hold, however, limits his availability to me and complicates what he intended to be simple. Until daily time alone with God becomes the one non-negotiable activity of my day, he will never be the power in my life he wants to be.
In Revelation 3:20, God has left an ongoing message on the answering machine of my heart. Very loosely paraphrased, it says, "Yoo-hoo! Mayo! I'm trying to get ahold of you. If you hear my voice and pick up the phone, I'll visit with you and you with me."
The wonderful thing about God's message is that it never says he's just passing through town. Instead, it reminds me he's always here, always available, just waiting for me to pick up the receiver and say, "Wait, wait! I'm here! Let's get together!"
When I do, what awesome communication I experienceno call waiting, no leaving messages. Just God and me without interruption, spirit to spirit, heart to heart.
1998 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian Woman magazine. For reprint information call 630-260-6200 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.