I ask you to imagine with me what it would be like if God were in the customer service industry. Just imagine Him working for a cable or phone company. First of all, we would probably have to dial a toll free number that would take us directly to a complicated phone matrix. There, we would pick our language and be presented with numbered options – perhaps something like the following: “To confess, press one. To praise, press two. To offer thanks or adoration, press three. To present prayers of intercession or supplication, press four.” If you tried to skip the menu and hit zero instead, you would most likely be put on hold and when you finally reached God, you would probably be running short on patience.
As you explained your problem or concern, God might try to transfer you to another department or would explain something blatantly obvious – something to the effect of “is the television turned on?” Or, God might break the cardinal rule of customer service: the customer is always right. Rather than listening sympathetically and trying to solve the problem or offer you free services or upgrades, God might inattentively doodle on His notepad while you rambled on, or, worse yet, might not listen at all. He might even become impatient or frustrated working with you. And, of course, if you asked for God’s direct line, you wouldn’t be able to get it.
As someone who has worked in customer service in various jobs, I know the kind of customers God might be up against and I shudder to think that maybe I’m one of them. I can definitely see myself impatiently expecting God to give me an answer quickly and efficiently or to “upgrade” the situation so that life wouldn’t be so difficult. I am so grateful God doesn’t operate like a poor customer service representative.
Instead, He listens to our every prayer, welcoming us to get everything off our chests – to speak our minds and pour out our hearts before Him. He even allows us to become angry and to voice our concerns, all the while listening patiently and lovingly, forgiving us for our impatience.
But what of the rule that the “customer is always right?” I remember times when I’ve been frustrated that I didn’t get my way, only to find out in hindsight that the answer I did receive really was far better. To find out that if I, the customer, had my way, I would have missed some amazing opportunities. As difficult as it is to accept sometimes, I’d much rather have God, who always has our best interests at heart, answer my prayers as He sees fit, even if it means facing difficulties head on. What a comfort it is to know that in the midst of these struggles, God is at our sides, leading us onward!
No, God doesn’t make us go through a phone matrix and doesn’t try to transfer us. Rather, we have a direct line (prayer, not 1-800-RFather!) to Him, and by using that line, we can reach Him at any time and any place. In fact, He is completely entwined in our prayer life. C.S. Lewis describes this in Mere Christianity: “An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get in touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God – that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying – the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on – the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers.”
In short, if God were in customer service and acted the way He actually does, I daresay that His is the best customer service one could ask for! Just remember, your prayer may be recorded for quality and training purposes.
© 2009. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.