She was driving along a country road and had car trouble. She got out and began walking, thinking to find help. She came to a treeline and thought, being a country girl, “Oh, good! There will be a house on the other side.” Sure enough, she came to not only a house, but a nice one!
She went up to the door and knocked, and a nice man answered. She explained her situation, having carefully thought out what kind of help she thought she needed and could politely request, and asked him for it. He looked at her with the strangest look on his face, and then said, “Why are you talking to me like you don’t know me?”
She was a little taken aback too, because she truly didn’t recognize him. Then, as she looked more carefully, she realized he was her husband! He shook his head, nonplussed, laughed, and said, “Come on, let’s get you fixed up.” She laughed as well, as memories began flowing around her and she started slowly to remember a life shared together and a multitude of shared experiences. Teens she only then began to recognize (and whom she does not now have) walked by her and said, “Hi mom!”
There were other elements of her dream, but we talked at length about the beauty of this perfect metaphor. How often have we been confronted with a problem, thought carefully through our solutions, taken (what is to us) the long journey to find heavenly help, carefully phrased our request in the hope of convincing God of our need so that he wouldn’t turn us away … and then waited to see whether this stranger has either the ability or desire to help us?
How often is God tempted to say to us: “Why are you talking to me like you don’t know me?”
What an amazing discovery to find that the stranger we think we’ll find … the busy unknown entity behind that closed door … is really as deeply invested in our safety and success as a spouse. He is “married” to us. We are the ones who don’t immediately recognize him, who fear to ask, who get caught up in needing to figure out our own solutions, who forget a lifetime of shared experience and trust-building “being there” for us, even the “children” or the fruit of a long relationship with a God who has never NOT been there.
Can you imagine how differently you would approach the house if you knew it was your home? You would walk the distance with hope, round the corner with relief, open the door without knocking, and call to your spouse, expecting that every ounce of energy would be expended to ensure that your vehicle through life was brought home without one bit of hand-wringing on your part. There would be absolute trust.
Can you imagine how that changes prayer? How that changes the desperation of our challenges? How that changes life?
Stop talking to him like you don’t know him.