Wrong Number?

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Espace spirituel anglophone

dimanche 7 octobre 2018 à 8h45

Durée émission : 10 min

Espace spirituel anglophone

Wrong Number? Perspectives-07/10/2018 - A talk by Derek Chittick

Recently, I was trying to get in touch with someone I hadn’t contacted for a while, probably more than 6 months; but it was fine, I had their mobile number, so I could drop them a quick text. No problem. Then, I waited for the reply; and waited; and waited! Isn’t it so annoying when people take their time about replying to your texts or emails, especially when you need the answer yesterday. But what is worse is when they don’t reply at all, and that was what was actually happening here – no answer was forthcoming.

Could it be that they were ignoring me? Had they just forgotten to reply? Did they think they had replied, and were waiting for my response? Had they accidentally deleted my text? What should I do?
What I did was to go to their Facebook page, and check their mobile phone number there, only to discover that since we were last in contact, they’d changed their number. Imagine, they didn’t even ask me if I minded! So my text is floating about somewhere in cyber space, looking for a destination that no longer exists, and I had to start again, hopefully more successfully this time!

However, the whole process made me think about how we approach God, how we seek to connect with Him, and how we’re sometimes disappointed because we don’t get an answer, or we can’t find Him where we’re looking for Him. There are lots of possible reasons for this scenario, but maybe one of them is that we’ve got the wrong number; we’re looking in the wrong place, or we’re asking for the wrong thing. No wonder we don’t get an answer!

Jesus is very clear in His statements about how we can find God; He says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” Again, He says, “I am the Door; if anyone enters by Me, he shall be saved.” Even more starkly, He says, “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers,” and He stated that anyone who came after Him claiming to be the way to God would be a liar and a false prophet.

In our multicultural, post-modern society, where tolerance is king, these statements sound shocking and to some people, offensive, which could explain in some measure why there is such a sense of lostness and lack of direction and security around us. We’ve got the wrong number – in fact, many of us have no contact details at all – so we’re getting no answer when we call. But if we were only to try out the right number, we would find that He offers us just what we’re looking for, and has the power to deliver. “Come to Me,” He says, “all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest……I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your soul.” It’s at least worth trying the number, to see if there’s anybody there, when the offer’s as good as that.

Then there’s the case of the answer that hasn’t come. We’ve made the call, but there has been no response. I’m thinking now of the situation where we’re already followers of Jesus, and we’ve been calling out to Him, but He doesn’t seem to be answering. Unanswered prayer, in other words. At this point, I want to make it clear that what I’m about to suggest is just one possible reason for unanswered prayer, and there are several other possibilities, so don’t take this as an exhaustive solution to the problem of unanswered prayer! Having said that, I suggest that one possible reason is that we have got the wrong number in our praying.

The Apostle James says in his letter, “You don’t have because you don’t ask. When you do ask, you do it with wrong motives.” He may have been thinking of the situation when another apostle James, and his brother, John, asked Jesus for the top positions of power in the Kingdom of God when it came in its fulness, and Jesus set them right in no uncertain terms! Often, we pray according to our own desires and understanding, when we can’t always see the whole picture or understand the best outcome.

It’s a good idea to model our praying on Jesus, when He said to the Father, “Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” When children come to their parents asking for something that would hurt them or that is beyond their ability to cope with yet, the parents will most likely say, “No,” or, “Not yet.” And that’s how Father God sometimes answers our prayers that are poorly timed or ill-considered. Perhaps a good strategy in dealing with unanswered prayer is to use it as an opportunity to re-examine the initial prayer to assess whether or not we’ve been asking for the right thing.

At the same time, God offers us the wisdom to know how to pray, and the peace to trust Him for the right answer at the right time. Not always easy, but ultimately the best outcome. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows what you need.” He won’t give you a stone when you ask for bread, though He might give you bread when you ask for cake! At the same time, He’s always accessible, and can even redirect our calls when we dial the wrong number. He truly is amazing!

Have a good week.

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