My phone is confused. I decline calls occasionally but it insists on telling me I “missed” the call. No, I chose not to answer that call – I didn’t miss it at all. I heard the phone, scanned the number and chose not to answer. There are a lot of reasons I would do such a thing – I’m up to my elbows in something gross (perils of parenting, you know). I am in the middle of a public place or group where answering would be rude. Or…
Answering that call would lead to something uncomfortable.
Let’s just say it’s the dentist calling. Perhaps there is some work that needs to be done that will not only be uncomfortable, but probably pretty costly. It is necessary for good dental health and it would be the right thing to do. But the discomfort is more than I want to deal with so I will just decline the call and not even acknowledge the need or call to action.
I used to work in a dental office and I was the one who made those calls. Each time I had to make a note in the chart that I had attempted to schedule treatment to no avail. Eventually my office manager would say, “Well, that’s that – put them in the inactive files.”
You know what would happen next right? No sooner would I get them filed than they would have a dental emergency and come a callin’! Sometimes I would be able to get them in right away; sometimes they would need to wait a day. Doc was a softy so he would always make sure he saw them. Sometimes he would be able to talk them into acting on all my calls and sometimes they would stall him some more and leave with a patch up.
Have you ever felt a pull on your heart to act a certain way or to step out in faith and hit the “decline” button? The Spirit starts to nudge with a “missed call” message and you know that you really didn’t miss that – you ignored that. The discomfort of the call outweighed your willingness to act. God is persistent though, isn’t He? He will continue to call. What if you continue to decline? That’s what Scripture calls a hard heart. I hate to be the one to break it to you but eventually God may put you in the “inactive” file. No, He’s not turning His back on you, but He’s not going to ask you to act anymore either.
It always makes me wonder when people say, “I just can’t hear God talking to me anymore.” Is it possible that you haven’t answered a previous call? Is it possible that God isn’t necessarily not talking, but waiting for you to decide you want to listen? Folks, let me assure you that I have been there. I stomped and snorted and got angry because God wasn’t talking to me but it eventually became clear that I wasn’t really trying terribly hard to listen anyway and when I DID hear, I wasn’t willing to act!
You know when decliners usually figure out God isn’t talking? When they have a problem. Suddenly there is a need in life that needs a God size intervention but that intervention doesn’t come immediately. We have to wait on God to bring things together and we get impatient. Maybe we ask God to just give us a patch up and we’ll be on our way rather than answering the real call.
Please be encouraged today to hit the answer button instead of decline. The end result of answering may be difficult and uncomfortable but isn’t that preferable to God not calling at all?
Take a lesson from the Israelites and decide which it will be.
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”
Perhaps it’s time to pick up the phone.