My first visit to Gate's was back in 1994. I had heard co-workers talk about it and how great it was, so I was anxious to give it a try. Several girls from the office set out on a warm spring Friday for a long lunch (you know the kind that extends into happy hour). It was like I was in the middle of a inside joke. They kept saying, "Just wait, you're gonna love it the minute you walk in the door!" Snickering to themselves at they put me in front of the pack. I guess they had gotten to know me a little. They knew the minute I walked in the door and someone yelled "Hi! May I help you?!" at the top of their lungs, I would have a reaction. And I did! If I remember correctly, I immediately turned around and hid behind the group like a scared two year old being scolded. The thing is the staff kept saying it everytime time the door opened and in midtown KC on a spring Friday, the door opened every two seconds!
But this post isn't about Bar-B-Q. No. It's a post about our great helper! Ever wonder how often God is yelling, "Hi! May I help you?!" But we are too busy or too scared to hear? Ever think about all the times when we have ignored our connection to God because we find something else more interesting or worse yet, we'd rather sit in the muck of self loathing? Yet, God is still there yelling, "Hi! May I help you?!" hoping we will hear and listen.
Maybe he is asking us if there is any mountains in our lives that need moving today. Maybe the mountain is so big that we can't even see God anymore, but He's there. At the counter, "Hi! May I help you?!" We just have to step up and give him our order, just as you would at Gates. You don't step up and meekly say, "I want beef on bun." No you have to stand with conviction in your voice and you better know what you want. "BEEF ON BUN PLEASE!" Then you hear the recall to the back kitchen, "ONE BEEF ON BUN PLEASE." It gives me anxiety just thinking about it! But prayer doesn't make me anxious at all, so why is it sometimes the last thing I turn to thinking I can manage or figure it all out on my own! Mark 11 gives us a pattern for prayer. Pray, ask, believe and forgive. But we get distracted by all the shiny things in this world that give us the promise of happiness. The thing is, there is nothing in this world that will bring you happiness if God is not the center. Whether you are a Tuck the Fringe person like me or even someone who thinks they have it all figured out, there is no person, place or thing that will bring you the happiness you desire and deserve if there is a whole in your heart where you've ignored that inner connection to God. You might experience moments of satisfaction, but prolonged happiness will be fleeting. You might grab your beef on bun at the end of the counter and sit down and think this is so good. But the feeling is temporary. So we move on to the next thing and the next and the next. Before we know it, we don't remember the last time we've even said, "Hi God! Thank you for this day!" Good thing God isn't fickle like us. He would've given up a long time ago and moved on. But he is still there saying, "Hi! May I help you?!"