At work, sitting at the break-room table, we (Ivy, Ernie, and me) had a mug of coffee in front of us.
We were discussing possibilities.
Basically, now that the bus strike had ended, we were deciding to continue carpooling or return to riding the bus.
I objected, “Ernie stay on task, we’re deciding to 1) Carpool to our jobs. Or, 2) Take the bus.”
Ernie answered, “We could do both or either … so do you think God knows who you are?”
I refused to answer. I felt my face redden.
But Ivy said, “Yes, I’m sure God knows who I am.”
Ernie said, “Alright, what makes you so sure?”
“The Grand Canyon, the twinkling stars, and my eyes,” Ivy replied.
Ivy’s answer hooked Ernie’s curiosity. He said, “Tell me more.” He picked up his mug of coffee, glanced my way, and took a listening sip.
I crossed my arms, annoyed. This isn’t what we came here for.
“Okay,” Ivy answered “God created the Earth. God created the Universe. And God created my Eyeballs,”
Ernie’s eyebrow raised. He grinned. He leaned forward. He said, “Um okay, I follow the earth and universe, but how do your eyeballs have anything to do with God knowing who you are?”
“Ernie!” I protested.
Ernie and Ivy ignored me.
“Well,” Ivy said, “Anyone who could design something as intricate as my eyes has to be someone who knows a lot about me.” She tilted her head toward her shoulder, smiled a Hollywood smile, and fluttered her eyelashes.
Ernie lifted his cup and before he took another sip said to Ivy, “Yes, you have a point.”
“Thanks.” Ivy picked up her cup, clicked it with Ernie’s cup, and then swalloed a gulp of her coffee-flavored cream and sugar.
I felt abandoned.
“So let me pose another question … ”
“… Shoot.” Ivy set her cup down.
“Since you believe God knows who you are, how does God get your attention?”
I tried to butt in, “Ernie we need to decide about carpooling or the bus, could we …”
“… that’s a good question, Ernie. I’d have to think about how to answer,” said Ivy.
Ernie said, “Yes, I’ve wondered how does God get anyone’s attention?
- Maybe break their arm?
- Bankrupt them?
- Give them a difficult teen?
- Allow them to win the lottery?
- Let them visit prisoners?
- Have them become a hospital volunteer?***
How does God break into our world and get our attention?”
I finished my cup of coffee with one teaspoon of sugar. Annoyance was drifting toward anger. I said, “Guys let’s make a decision about … ”
“… Maybe any of those things,” Ivy inserted, “Maybe another thing. Whatever God uses to get my attention something else to think about is, am I paying attention and can I even recognize when God is trying to get my attention?”
“Yes that’s it, isn’t it? We aren’t paying attention and lack any skill in recognizing how the Lord is involved in our day … but, back to the question: What does God have to do to get your attention?”
Ivy said, “I don’t know, at different times God could use different things. I guess I have to be aware that God is always in my presence. I should be conscious of that.”
I felt ignored. I wondered if God ever felt ignore?
I stood up. Said my goodbye. Paid for my coffee. And left without anything being decided.
Yet, as I walked to the bus stop, I said, “How does God get my attention?”
I’m thinking about three sentences, 1) God is here. 2) God knows what He’s doing. 3) God can be trusted.
In this matter of God getting my attention I realize that I have to somehow set aside my distractions and pay attention. The problem isn’t that God isn’t speaking. The problem is that I’m not very good at listening … and recognizing the voice of God.
So the quest isn’t does God know who I am and how does God get my attention, it’s this, how do I learn to listen to the God who knows me?
Thanks for your company on Lee’s Nite Radio.
Chris Tomlin Good Good Father