I come from a family that doesn’t like to bother people, and we have that quality to a fault. As a child, when I stood in the doorway of my grandmother’s house and was offered a drink, I knew that the right answer was, “No thank you” (even if I wanted one).
So it may have been a bit of a stretch for my newly Christian mother to believe me when I told her recently that God likes to be bothered. I said, “Mom, you know how most people don’t like you to bother them with your problems? Well, God wants you to bother Him.” “Oh?” she said. So I found a Bible in the house and proved it:
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble” (Psalm 50:14-15).
This is an odd grouping of commands, even for me—lumping the exhortation to call upon God together with two more expected commands to offer thanksgiving and to perform the vows we make to Him. In my childhood household, we would have read those verses and thought God meant the first two commands but didn’t really mean the last one—He was just being nice. We would have said: “Sure, God, we’ll give you thanks and keep our vows, but don’t worry, we won’t be pests and bother you with our problems.”
But no, God really means it. He means it to the point that He lists a neglect of coming to Him along with his other grievances:
“I will stretch out my hand against … those who bow down on the roofs to the host of heavens … those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him” (Zephaniah 1:4-6).
“When I would heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed. … [N]one of them calls upon me” (Hosea 7:1, 7).
Do you always get what you ask for from the Lord? Heaven forbid! I shudder to think of what would have happened if I had received everything I ever asked God for! But this we know—that He hears us when we come to Him, and that He answers in the way that is best for us and His kingdom (which He is intelligent enough to do simultaneously). Here is favorite passage I have committed to heart and often start my prayer walk with:
“One thing I have asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
It’s amazing but true: God wants to be bothered by you.