- - Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Culture challenge of the week: No time for God

Life is busy: The phone keeps ringing, the children need attention, someone’s at the door. The dog is barking, the bills need to be paid, there’s a deadline at work. Where is the time for God?

He doesn’t pound on the door like the neighborhood children, or interrupt while you’re working, or call during dinner like the telemarketers. No, He patiently waits for us to call on Him.

While you try to figure out schedules, or why you’re already out of milk (again), or who’s picking up whom from what, God waits.

While you throw a load of laundry into the washer, sweep the kitchen floor and sort the mail, God waits.

My husband and I make it a priority to find time each day for a private conversation over a cup of coffee. We take the time to show love toward our now-grown children and discuss their lives and concerns. We have friends over for dinner. Meanwhile, God waits.

Why does it often seem so difficult to find the time to talk to God? Many of us know that prayer is effective and powerful and healing. It has the ability to change us, to strengthen us, to give us peace. Yet it is often the last thing we take the time to do — often finding ourselves falling into bed, whispering a few words as we drift off to sleep.

As I was pondering this question, I came across a Bible passage that grabbed my attention: “Yet God does not abandon us. He keeps His promise: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)

Even during storms, He stands just to the side, ever watchful, waiting to embrace us the moment we again seek His presence.

His words to Jeremiah apply to us all: “Call to me and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3) When I read that passage, I grow numb as I try to absorb the thought that the God of all creation has commanded me to call on Him. My mind can’t begin to comprehend that He promises to answer me.

Yet, I am ashamed to admit, I often neglect to talk to God. Sometimes I am too tired, sometimes too busy — maybe sometimes too selfish.

And I have to wonder: What peace or power or direction is missing from my life because I neglect my relationship with God? He reaches out in every sunset, every rainfall, every flower, but I focus instead on my own agenda. He wrote me a letter, gave me the gift of His written word, yet my Bible often sits unopened on my coffee table.

How to save your family: Respond to God

Thanks to the examples of my parents and grandparents, and to some good books and great friends who have influenced my life, I’m always brought back to the reality that prayer is an essential part of being all that I can be — a better mother and a better person.

It’s awesome to know I don’t have to go it alone. You don’t have to, either.

Whether you are happily married, going through a painful time in your marriage or raising children as a single parent, you are not alone.

Weathering life’s struggles in a culture that has gone mad takes strength and guidance from someone bigger, wiser and stronger than ourselves. And He’s only a prayer away.

We love our families best not when we’re running around trying to make things happen, but when we give control over to God through prayer.

One of the best gifts we can give our children is to teach them to pray. But simply telling them to do it probably won’t yield true results. Children learn best through the examples their parents set. It is easier for children to believe in the importance of prayer when they see how important prayer is to their parents. It is easier for children to understand that God desires a relationship with them when they see their parents in relationship with Him.

One day when I was a young girl, my father (who was a pediatrician) and I were the only ones at home. We were in separate parts of the house, but through the stillness of the hallway, I heard a low, mournful sound a soulful weeping. I tiptoed toward his room, filled with concern and curiosity. As I drew closer, I could see his door stood ajar. I pushed it open just enough to peer inside.

A sense of holiness permeated the air, and in an instant my impressionable young mind and spirit were impacted so deeply that I would embrace the memory of that moment countless times throughout my life.

In the solitude of his room, I saw my daddy kneeling beside his bed, weeping and praying from the depths of his soul for one of his young patients. As the tears flowed from that great man, I lingered in breathless awe as I felt my faith in God soar beyond my own understanding.

As Donald Miller wrote in his book “Blue Like Jazz”: “Sometimes, you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.”

The best thing you can do for your family and for yourself is to lean into your own faith and develop your prayer life. Begin a conversation with God. Respond to Him when He reaches out through nature, friends and family, His word, your church.

Turn to Him. He is waiting.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected]

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