The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 10, 2013

Thankful the Lord doesn't use an answering machine

Keeping The Faith column

By Bev Davis
Columnist

— Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Dec. 6, 2008. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.



I recently came across some humorous suggestions for your home answering machine. Here are a couple of my favorites:

“Hi. This is John:

“If you are the phone company, I already sent the money.

“If you are my parents, please send money.

“If you are my financial aid institution, you didn’t lend me enough money.

“If you are my friends, you owe me money.

“If you are a female, don’t worry, I have plenty of money.”

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“Hello, I’m not here right now. In fact, I’m out getting a new parakeet. If you leave a message after the beep, I’ll be sure to get back to you. Oh, and by the way, a word of advice; never try to clean a parakeet’s cage with a vacuum cleaner.”

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They’re cute, but these little quips do make me think we’ve all come to rely way too much on answering machines.

I can’t get used to talking so much to answering machines. At work, I rarely get a real person on the first try, and I’m sure people trying to call me wonder if there’s anything more to me than a voice telling them how sorry I am I missed their call.

Sometimes I think it may have also affected my prayer life. I find myself rambling on with my mind going in a dozen directions. I sometimes treat the Lord as though He’s an answering machine just taking a message.

I miss the days when I felt such a strong connection with His presence I wanted to linger long in prayer, which felt like real communication and fellowship with God.

I was younger, more idealistic, more intense about my faith. I do believe, however, we’ve all become more prone to distractions and that it’s harder to maintain times of disciplined, focused prayer.

With the beginning of Advent, I lit my first candle and managed to stay quiet and focused for a few minutes. It was wonderful. I was seated cross-legged on the floor with my Advent candles just a foot or so away. Then, right in the middle of some serious meditation, my bunny discovered the candles and immediately started chewing gleefully on one of the wooden holders.

Then, he chewed on one of the candles. Then he stood up to sniff the flame. Big mistake. Thankfully, CJ didn’t catch fire, but a small black bunny felt enough heat to jettison him out of the room as fast as if a greyhound were hot on his trail.

Like I said, distractions have become a part of life. I hope the Lord enjoyed a good chuckle. I certainly did.

I’m so thankful, though, that the Lord doesn’t have an answering machine, doesn’t put me on hold or drop my calls.

I’d like to meet Him more than halfway, though. I want to become more focused, more passionate about prayer. God deserves my full attention, and I’m determined to make Advent a season of purposeful prayer. I’m the one who needs to stop putting Him on hold.