I had to go to Wal-Mart after work, yesterday. Imagine if a very special man with a very special offer met me in the parking lot. Imagine, I have successfully navigated the circus that is Wal-Mart on a Friday afternoon. I have crossed off each item for which my wife has sent me on this adventure after having navigated crowded aisles multiple times in a search pattern of every decreasing concentric rings.
I have patiently waited in the check-out line trying to occupy my eyes on images other than the scantily dressed models on the magazine covers that line the check-out lane but not to the point of actually engaging anyone in a conversation. The pleasant checker hands me my receipt and plastic bag full of the essentials needed to get us by until the real shopping trip can be made. Now to the exit; a side-step of an errant child, a pause to let a pack of teenage girls giggle by, an acceleration past an elderly couple, a right-turn through the glass doors that still open by my Jedi skills and I am into the foyer.
I am almost out but looking through the second set of glass doors, I can see that it is gray with a wind driven rain. I pause to pull my baseball hat down an inch, zip up my jacket three inches and prepare to make the dash. Just as I lean into my first step, a hand gently grabs the back of my arm, “Hello, friend. Do you have a moment?” The frustration of actually having “a moment” and a lack of any other intelligible excuse results in a surprising, “Yeah, I guess so.”
My new “friend” stays in the middle of the store foyer as shoppers stream around us, to explain to me, “We have been watching you and you are loved by God. Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” With the conclusion of this statement, he then waited patiently for me to make a request.
I immediately start looking for those who are watching me. I am in expectation of a hidden camera crew bursting forth to catch my expressions of surprise. My “friend” obviously catches my skepticism portrayed by a half smirk and dull eyes and asks, “Are you going to ask for anything?” No longer able to contain my sarcasm, my hands snap open in front of me with the thumbs to the sky and my head cocks to the side as I droll out the word, “Really? You can give me a-n-y-THING I ask for. No offense “friend” but I am not interested in playing whatever game you’re playing here.” My “friend” looks down upon his appearance that I have just referenced. He is wearing Wranglers blue jeans, Bogs, a brown Carhartt jacket zipped halfway down to show a flannel shirt and topped with a camouflage Cabelas baseball cap. He suppresses an obvious smile and with a delight in his eye responds by saying, “Fair enough. Let me show you some things.”
We walk back into the store and over to the long pharmacy line. As we pass along the line, my “friend” begins to touch people. He touches a hunched over arthritic elderly woman, who immediately stands tall and walks straight. He touches an over-weight man confined to a wheelchair with the swollen legs, who shrinks before our eyes and strides away in new found comfort. He touches a child with no hair and a mask, whose skin color changes along with a brightness in her eyes that attest to the removal of that hidden disease. He takes me outside and with the words “be still,” the rain stops, the clouds part and the most pleasing of sun-rays cascade down upon my face. He snatches my bag from my hand and proceeds to walk through the parking lot pulling out Subway sandwiches from my bag and hands them to the passing shoppers.
He then takes me back to the store foyer and with the grandest of smiles and the brightest of eyes, asks, “Do you know who I am?” With tears streaming unashamedly down both cheeks, I reach out to grasp him by the forearms as I need his strength to lift me from weakened legs. Through tears of joy, I cry, “I do know you. You are my Lord and my Savior!”
He tells me, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Do you believe that?” All I can do is muster a mumbled, “Yes I do with all my heart.”
He tells me, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Do you believe that?’ “I do, I do,” is all I can repeat.
He gently lifts my head and looks deep into my eyes to my very soul and asks,
“Then why don’t you?”
As I blink to clear my eyes, He is gone and I stand bewildered in the store foyer with shoppers parting around me annoyed at my intransigence.
I realize that is a lot of imagining. However, the question lies before us, “why don’t we ask?” I think that there are many folks out there like myself who neglect to pray. If Jesus really did appear to me in Wal-Mart, I would not hesitate to respond to him with all of my cares and concerns. He wants them.
I have no answer for the fact that my first reaction is not to fall to my knees.
Jesus told us that we have not because we ask not.
Jesus has told us that we have a good Father who knows how to give good gifts.
Do we believe Him?
Our prayer life is a statement of our belief in those promises. Let’s be a people who have a prayer life that reflects a belief that we live each day with Jesus and He is for us.