God’s Phone Tree

I hate phone trees.


Wait. Maybe “hate” is too strong a word for a Christian blog.


I abhor phone trees. 


I loathe phone trees.


I despise phone trees with the white-hot burning passion of a thousand burning suns. (Yes, I stole that last phrase from an ancient episode of “Cheers.”)


To me, a phone tree instantly conveys the message that the company I am calling does not want to talk to me. Obviously, they would rather have me spend 18 minutes of my time pressing buttons that do nothing then address the reason I called by simply allowing me to talk to a human being. They obviously believe their time is far more valuable than mine. 


“Hello, you’ve reached our company. You may go away now, or we will put you through a series of pointless and frustrating exercises in futility we’ve specifically designed to get you to go away and never speak to you again. Some calls are recorded for quality assurance. We really can’t stop laughing when we use that phrase, but we didn’t officially say that.”


“Remember, you can always go to our website at www.misanthropy.com.” 


“Please listen to the entire menu as our options have recently changed. (Barely audible maniacal laughter in the background.) Please press 1 for Klingon, 2 for Swahili spoken with a lisp, 3 if your mother had red hair, or 4 if you’d like to send us an enormous quantity of money. You may press 6 to go back to the main menu, 7 to listen to a 23-second snippet of 1980’s elevator music played over and over again punctuated by a recording telling you to get off the phone and go to our website even though we know you already tried that and that is exactly why you are calling to talk to a human being, or 8 to end this call immediately and have to start all over. Don’t ask what “5” does. We cannot be responsible for whatever happens to you if you press that number.” 


None of the options in the list are ever the reason I called. 




And, if you should have the temerity to press “0” to try and speak to a human being, you will get a voice that sounds like a female Major Hochstetter from Hogan’s Heroes stating, “Zat entry is not recognized!” And the call will be instantly terminated and you will get a busy signal if you call back. We have ways of making you play by our rules.


It’s as if they hired a team of psychologists to study the human brain and find out what would be the most effective way to frustrate an adult human being using only a telephone and recorded messages. There’s probably a secret underground phone tree testing facility run by one of the villains from a 1960’s James Bond movie in some remote part of the globe…


Wait…wasn’t one of those James Bond movies actually called, “Dr. No?


I knew it!


Now, you may be asking yourself why I have been going on for nearly five-hundred words on this subject without ever once mentioning our Lord. As I mentioned in the beginning, this is, after all, a Christian blog. Isn’t it?


I bring this all up to contrast it with prayer.


All any of us have to do to have direct access to God is pray. 


God does not have a phone tree. He hears and listens immediately. Before a bell can ring, in the time it takes to think, “Lord…” He is listening. 


He is listening and He cares. He will not talk over you. He will not interrupt you. He will not even tell you your concerns or cares are foolish or unwarranted. He will not try and divert you or pass the buck. He will not transfer your prayer to someone else.


The God of the Universe, the One who created you and me and everything in all the vastness of the entire cosmos, far more important and powerful and omniscient than even the most powerful company on earth, (even more powerful than the cable company) will listen and hear you without hesitation. 


He will not be offended if you are angry with Him. And, even if you are the one who is in the wrong, He will not let your mistake or your anger or your misunderstanding of the situation diminish His love for you. 


When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, He told them to address that same God as “Our Father.”

Those words carry with them an intimacy, a relationship that no company with a phone tree can even come close to approaching.








And that relationship is something Jesus made for us when He died on the cross. When the veil of the temple was torn in two, (Matthew 27:52, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45) it opened for us access to the Holy of Holies. It allowed us, not just come before God, but to come before His throne boldly. 


All our messes, all our problems, all our brokenness. We can bring it all to God. No delays, no jumping through hoops, no endless hours on hold. 


God is right there. Right now.


And unlike the phone tree companies of the world, God really does want to talk to us.  


Today’s Praise

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

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