A Pan, A Plan, and A Prayer

“I wish God would just come down and hit me with a frying pan. That would get my attention!”

My friend stood in front of me, head down, a tight smile on her face. Her husband had lost his job, and she didn’t know if she should start looking for work, or stay home with her children. She couldn’t settle on the right thing to do.

Moses had his Burning Bush, and Paul his lightening strike, but bold, attention-getting events like that are rare in today’s world. Real life problems demand time, thought, and prayer for solutions.

But it sure seems like it might be a faster process, if cast iron was involved.

There’s no question that I’d respond positively to the first unexpected thump. “Thank you Lord!” I’d sing out, rubbing the goose egg sized bump rising out of my noggin.

But after a few experiences like that, I wouldn’t be so grateful anymore. As a matter of fact, I’d probably get pretty mad. Obstinate even. “Hit me in the head again God, and I’ll refuse to do it because you are mean!”

I know I would act like this, because I come from a long line of stiff-necked people.

The Lord is not going to use violence to get my friend’s attention.  As he well knows, it doesn’t work, and his infinite mercy will not allow it. And it’s a good thing too. If God was capable of actually inflicting pain to get us to do the right thing, imagine what he’d do to get us to stop doing the wrong thing?

I have this image of walking down a busy, urban street teeming with people. All I can hear is: “Ouch! Yow!” as God wields his rod, reacting to the judgments we make, the lies we tell and the time we waste. Can you see it too? Crazy.

Just like a good earthly father, our God wants my friend to come and talk to him. Our Father is very interested in showing the way; he doesn’t want her to suffer in this decision. He will speak in that sacred place of prayer.  

As she prays with trust, he will show the way. And she shouldn’t worry about making a mistake. If my friend chooses one way, and God wanted her to go the other, he’ll let her know. He will take her by the hand, and lead her gently to the truth.

Like my friend, we all want to make the right choices. Do you want to find the right way? Forget the frying pan, it’s not coming. (Phew!)

Go to your quiet place and pray. God is waiting to show you the way. If you don’t hear his voice, don’t despair. He's there, it’s just that sometimes our own voices are loud, and it drowns out everything else. Ask for his peace, and you will hear.

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