Feeling Ignored?

A friend of mine related a funny incidence that happened to her and her husband.

On their way home from church one Sunday, they mull over what to do about lunch.  They decide to head to one of their favorite restaurants and instead of eating in, they’d just go through the drive thru and grab some lunch to go.

They pull up to the drive thru lane and patiently wait for the southern voice at the other end to drawl, “It’s my pleasure to serve yoo.  What can Eye git fur yoo today?”

drive thru speaker

Only…nothing happens.

Okay, maybe they’re really busy.  Surely, they’ll be waited on soon.

They stare at the monitor, straining their ears for some sign of life on the other end.

Nothing.

“Hello?” the husband calls out.  “Helllllo???” the wives calls out.

No response.

They look at each other perplexed - and then they start to look around.  No cars in the drive thru line ahead of them. No cars in the parking lot. 

And that’s when they remembered: It’s Chick-Fil-A

And it’s Sunday.

chick fil a menu

Yes, another poor couple depraved of chicken-goodness on a Sunday.  (How could you do this to them, Chick Fil-A?  ::waaah::)*

My friend and I laughed hard at the incident.  The fact that neither she nor her husband paid attention to the darkened store and empty lot just cracked us up.  At the moment, they were so busy wrapped in conversation that nothing else mattered…

…until they realized that their pleas for help were ignored.

God used that little incident to teach me a lesson about perception in prayer.  However, I’m sure He knew I’d never get the lesson on my own, so He used the one weapon in His arsenal that worked so well before.

Remember this One?

eyes

Yes, the smiley-boy wonder who just opened my heart and tore it apart all at the same time?

Well, enter in car conversation Number 2.  Again, I have the Boy all to myself, and as we’re driving down the road he pipes up with, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”

Ummm…

”What was your prayer about?”

”Well, you remember how I told you that I’d been having bad dreams?  Well, they won’t stop.  I ask God to take them away, but He doesn’t.  Does that mean He won’t answer my prayers?”

I look at his little crumpled face.  I hate to see the disappointment written there.  But even more so, I’m sad that He has a wrong interpretation of how God feels about him – as if he was being ignored by God. 

So I talk to him about dreams and how they are images that the brain dumps out at night and sorts through trying to make sense of them.

I tell him that God gives us reactions for a reason. If someone eats a rotten piece of fruit, the body's going to throw it up. It's a signal that says, "That's not good for me. I shouldn't do that again."

I then went on to explain, “If you watch stuff that may be ‘rotten’ for your thinking, at night - you're brain's going to ‘throw it up’ in the form of a nightmare. God may not over-ride the result of your choice of purposely choosing to ‘eat’ bad information that you digest. We need consequences to teach us.  

This isn’t about being ignored, Son.  This is about purposely making a bad choice, and then asking God to take away the consequences of that choice.”

After that conversation, God brought back to mind my friend’s Chick Fil A incident.  Sometimes unanswered prayer is like driving up to a closed restaurant. There are days when I don’t make good choices, whether it’s…

  • based on a wrong assumption (i.e. “Hey, they must be open today!”)
  • or because of a flat-out sin that I chose to do. (i.e. “How dare they be closed when I want THEIR chicken today!”)

I call out to God, asking Him to remove the consequences of my sin and am met with silence.

Yet instead of checking my motivation, I immediately get an attitude.  “Why doesn’t He answer me?  Doesn’t He love me?  He must not be a good God after all.  Why am I ignored?”

I might pout, fuss, and fume, or worse - taint His character with my misdirected beliefs about Him.  That’s when it gets in dangerous territory, for those polluted beliefs have the power to wear down trust and faith over time.

It’s important for my Boy, for myself, for all of us to have these times of introspection in asking:

  • Does this belief really fit God’s heart?
  • Does this belief say that God is good?
  • Does this belief reflect God’s glory?
  • Does this belief embrace the fact that God loves me deeply?

If we find ourselves answering “no” to any of these questions, then it’s more likely our theology that’s a little tainted, and not God’s current silence in our prayers. 

Perception makes all the difference in the world.

*Just an fyi…I love Chick-Fil-A. Worked there during my college years.  I also  LOVE the fact that they chose to be closed on Sundays  - giving their working families time to worship together as a family on Sunday.  But for some reason, that seems to be the day I crave nuggets.  Go figure.*

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Feel free to comment, and God bless you! ~ Holly

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