5:30 pm on any given weeknight: THE MOST stressful time of my day. Supper time. And to up the ante on the challenging factor: hubby is due home and we’re on a tight schedule to get everyone fed and out the door for music practise.
It’s sweltering hot – I’ll do the reasonable thing for a quick supper: BBQ burgers. Except we have no buns. “No problem. I’ll just send Samara to 7-11.” She comes back with a slurpee. “Sorry no buns, mom.”
Ggrrr. “OK, I’ll make a quick run to the Co-Op convenience store. 3 minutes tops.” However in the back of my mind begins the argument: “You’re taking a gamble, you should just save time and run to WalMart.” Except I hate WalMart, especially during supper hour. Everyone else who’s scrambling for supper is headed to WalMart. I run to the Co-Op convenience store – no buns. “Awww man, now I HAVE to go to WalMart!” On the drive there my mind is running in multiple directions trying to think of any other close options other than WalMart! I’m drawing blanks. At the corner waiting to turn into WalMart and see the Shell convenience store – SAVED! They have to have buns. Turning into Shell, reality argues: I am probably wasting more time but here’s hoping! No buns. As I’m pulling out I’m thinking, “Would there be any chance Staples would have buns? Maybe Rona Hardware? I wonder if I went through the drive-thru at Tim Horton’s if they’d sell me just some buns???? Anything but WalMart!”
Futilely knowing Peavy Mart and Staples will NOT have buns, I resign myself to WalMart. I pray the parking spot prayer “Up close God please! Yes! Favor!” – a spot up close AND close to the exit. I run in, grab the buns and then notice the winding road called “Express Lane” that is usually anything but express. And then I see my saving grace: Customer Service. No customers are there. I walk past the oodles of people in the Express-Lane-to-nowhere, and march right up to the lone customer service girl. She smiles, “Can I help you?” Can I believe this is actually real? Getting into WalMart, getting my 1 item and getting out literally in under 5 minutes??? If I’d known it was going to be this easy…
And thus my lesson of the day: How often in life are we running around to all sorts of other options, trying to figure things out, trying to make things work, trying desperately to avoid what we think is the long way, the long WAIT, the tedious way – the road to and through God? We look for any other way to get things done or attain the results we want, completely avoiding God, completely avoiding the most certain, direct route called prayer. Our futile thinking tries to take us down all sorts of paths: “Would there be any chance Staples has buns???”
Oswald Chambers said, “In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd.” It doesn’t make sense to our I-can-handle-this nature: “It’ll take too long, I don’t even know what to say, this isnt a big deal…” But we forget that prayer isnt just about getting answers or solutions. Prayer is our connection God. A lifeline. It keeps us connected to eternity, our real home. It repositions us into the place of follower of Christ rather than director of our own life.
Jesus instructions in Mark 11:24 in The Message:
“That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.”
God’s everything” is more than just the answers to prayers. Its GOD Himself. HE is the goal of prayer. His life saturating ours. His heartbeat becoming ours. That’s what prayer does: it changes us and then we are able to bring change to whatever situation we are facing.
The Customer Service line is free and clear. God is eagerly waiting: “Can I help you?”