Have you ever thought about the conversations you’d have with God when you finally meet Him face to face? I laugh when I think about the conversations I have with Him now. I wonder if His eyebrows furrow in confusion, or perhaps He sighs at my repetitive requests. I’m sure that there are days I make Him laugh at the absolute absurdity of my questions. Those who know me know that I often say I have this list of questions for God when I finally meet Him face to face. From the profoundly serious questions about life and family and friends to the everyday mundane questions like what was He thinking when He created the aardvark and why after labor and child-rearing, women still have to endure hot flashes? Seriously, what is that about? Yes, this is what chatting with God looks like for me.
Of course, this list has been revised over the years. The questions I had when I was younger somehow seem to show clarity as I get older. Although I may not know the reason why, it is clear that the what was for a specific purpose and I see its fruits. There will always be those hard questions about world hunger, sudden death, and violence, although I surmise those whys have more to do with us than they have to do with God. I wonder if He will respond to our questions with His own questions, as Jesus often did. And will that question be, “What did you do about it?”, “Why didn’t you speak up?”, “Did you take the time?” Something tells me that we will see how different life on earth could have been had we only been the answer to someone else’s prayers.
As Catholics, we have volumes and volumes of prayers that can be recited, and each should be a starting place for those quiet, intimate moments we simply chat with God. There was a time when leading prayer in a group was a stumbling block for me. My words fell short of the praise He deserved. I wished I could pray as eloquently as others. I soon learned, this kind of thinking had more to do with me trying to make my prayers sound good for others to hear then it did for God to hear. The practice of just chatting with God has helped. Now there are times I simply say, “Lord, I’m spent. I have nothing but this depleted vessel to give you. Fill me.” And there I sit, in silence … waiting.
Giving God our questions, I believe, means trusting Him with the answers. It shows us with Whom we place our trust. Even if the answers do not come in an audible sense that we always recognize, we are training ourselves to seek Him first, to love Him with all our heart, our soul, and our might. Trusting Him when life is great and when our hearts are broken to pieces – trusting in His plan for our salvation. Then thank Him for all that we see and all we cannot see. A few years back I read this simple quote, “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday.” Wow, so much I take for granted. From the tiniest things that seem so insignificant to the heavy-on-my-heart things that bring me down. This is the stuff God wants us to bring him in prayer.
I love the line in the song This Is The Stuff, by Francesca Battistelli “In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed”.
Recently at our Women’s prayer group, a friend shared of how she found a profound message from God to her in a simple, everyday task. I now call it the “Latte Prayer.” This is a woman who selflessly gives to others ALL the time. Her life has been a living ministry of service to those who are often forgotten – the sick, the dying, the mentally handicapped, and those in recovery. In the midst of her busy life, she wanted to indulge in a little treat for herself – a latte, something she would rarely spend her money on, but loved so much. It was special to her because she liked it prepared a certain way – you know – the shaken not stirred kind of specialty drink. When the young lady at the counter didn’t prepare it the right way, my friend politely explained that it was not correct and the young lady went back to get it right. It was taking a little longer than expected and my friend was losing her patience. As the server returned with the correct latte she said, “I’m so sorry for the mistake, do you forgive me?” “Of course, I do,” my friend exclaimed, then whispered, “God, how could I ever let something this simple take my eyes off you?”
Turning to God in the little things is just as important as turning to Him in the big things of life and that includes all the questions and doubts that can lead us astray. In the movie The Passion of Christ, there is a scene where Mary is walking behind the crowd, trying to keep up with her Son as He carries His cross down the Via Delarosa. She spots Satan glaring at her on the other side. Suddenly her stare is broken as she quickly fixes her eyes back upon her suffering Son. I’ve watched this movie so many times and never noticed this simple shift before. I wonder if, in that split moment, Satan represented fear and doubt – “Why, God, why?” But, Mary knew why because she remained in a constant conversation with God. In her perfect example of surrender, she shows us how to turn our gaze back towards Jesus, even in the midst of suffering.
No question is too silly for God. Nothing is too mundane. The simple, everyday details of our lives are the stepping stones that draw us closer to Him. They are the starting point to seek His truth, to examine our own hearts, and to trust in Him. So the next time you wonder why and take your eyes off Him, perhaps it’s time to slow down and have a chat with God.
Sowing Sunday living in a weekday world.
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