What if God were standing on the front porch, gently rapping with his knuckles, on a glass pane in the front door while you were searching Craigslist for a 2011 Ford F-150?
What if, during red-faced rants about reducing 4th quarter expenses and heads held in hands of disagreement---while huddled around a mahogany conference table with coffee cups, M&Ms, and bottles of Evian water littering the surface, God was phoning into a conference room phone that went unanswered?
Or if, on Tuesday morning while stuck behind a pokey Volvo on the way to school with an AP Calculus test on your brain, God whispered on your Spotify station, just as you punched the power button for a moment of silence to glance over your notes?
Invitations Declined by Neglect
I wonder how many invitations we decline by neglect?
How many solicitations from the heavens have we received that got immediately junked in the trash can of our minds as we rushed to our next meeting?
Is it possible that while we were arguing with a spouse who didn’t come through again, or yelling at a child who thumbed her nose at us, or while answering the last text from our best friend Laura, that the Desire of every heart was patiently waiting for us to turn around to find him?
Is there a chance that each time you don’t know what to do, or find your quarterly sales slow, or that you can’t quite make it out of bed without the heavy sense of moving through molasses, that the Healer of the nations is “standing at the door and knocking” so you can groan the ache in your chest, the pit in your stomach, the spinning of your head?
Opening up When the House is a Mess
Of course, we may be slow to answer if the knock on the door spells trouble for us.
But what if...just what if, the One knocking on the other side of each stab of unmet expectation, each joy-marauding moment of anguish, or every self-stuffed moment of boredom was One “who had long waited for you speak?”
What if, though flustered and unprepared, you went ahead and opened the door?
Perhaps nary a word of welcome would issue from your stunned lips, only a flurry of embarrassed protests:
“Oh, Jesus, my house is mess. I’m so sorry. We’ve been so busy. I haven’t been able to vacuum or even do a lick of laundry. I hate it that it looks like this in here. And I know I look terrible, I haven’t even had a chance to shower yet today---the baby was up all night wailing (she’s teething), and Phil’s out of town...Jonathan had soccer practice, and Lizzie, ballet. Jimmy has to be at Boy Scout’s by 6....I’m so sorry, so sorry, but come in, come in.”
And you stand there exposed. A hot stew of desperation and shame boiling on your insides. Tears pooling in the corners of your eyes.
And what if, in that moment, this waiting Visitor on the front stoop of your life, looked at you long and sweet, and said nothing more than,“What do you want me to do for you?”
How about living into that invented moment with Jesus during your private prayers during this Advent season, whether you are much of a praying sort or not?
A Yanking Desperation
Picture yourself, saying a first variant of what’s now known as the Jesus prayer, but was, long ago, fervently mouthed by blind Bartimaeus, begging, as he was, on a roadside when Jesus passed. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (cf. Mark 10)
Many, we are told, hushed him.
Tried to shame him into silence with cocked heads and and exasperated eyes.
But desperation yanked the words out of him furiously. “SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!”
And the Son of David, with mercy to spare and compassion jumping on his insides, responded, “What do you want me to do for you?”
How would you answer?
What do you want the Jesus who is configuring molecules and moments to grab your attention and to reclaim your life, to do for you?
Why not pretend at prayer that He is asking just that?
Why not answer Him as if His question is anything BUT pretend?
Contact Eric Youngblood, pastor of Rock Creek Fellowship on Lookout Mountain, at email@example.com