“Who we believe God is determines how we pray.”
For me, He is the God of Eggs !
I recently had an exclamation mark in my walk with God. You know … one of those times that the veil of life slips back and you can see two very distinctive paths, two choices, and it makes you ponder the choice you made. These choices come in many forms. Marriage? The day you decided to start having children? The final choice you make in college about career path after switching your degree program a few times? You could have made one or the other in your life. What made you choose one over the other?
At the time, I was pondering my decision many years ago to follow Christ.
While listening to the sermon in church today, my pastor related a very key statement: “Who we believe God is determines how we pray.” At first glance it may not seem that impacting. As I look over my own life, it is very impacting. I see God as someone that I can approach at any time and speak to, not just on Sunday morning, and not just a recited prayer that I learned while holding a string of beads in my hand. Probably the reason why is because I was challenged at a young age by my pastor Rick Carus to “Test me and see if my words are true.” And that is why I call him the “God of eggs.”
My first memory of doing so was on a short-term mission trip. The church high school group that I grew up with travelled to Huntley, Wyoming to work on a church that needed repairs. After arriving at the church, we realized that the repairs needed for this big building that at one time housed a very large congregation, were more extensive than we were told. The church now was a very small congregation that was no longer the center of the prairie that farmers travelled as far as a hundred miles to attend. Today, Christian churches spread across the vast prairies of Wyoming and Huntly was now a drip in the faucet.
In three days we finished the work they had requested and sat looking at an old plaster ceiling full of cracks, one of those Hoosier gym style sanctuaries that curved from side-to-side like a plane hangar. At lunch that day our youth pastor, Rick Carus, challenged us. He told us, “I priced the cost of scaffolding and supplies to fix the ceiling in the sanctuary. It turned out to be, dollar-for-dollar, exactly what we have in our food account for the next week. Are you guys willing to step out in faith, use our food money to fix the ceiling, and ask God to provide for us for the next week?” The room was silent!
Our eventual answer was, “You talk about faith all the time. So the question is, are YOU, as our pastor, willing to believe that God will provide?” Talk about putting Rick on the spot! It wasn’t our job to believe, it was his job to prove what he talked about. I guess we were very trusting in that moment.
We agreed to do it and the first order of the afternoon was to ask God to do it. So we prayed.
When the prayer was over, we looked up to see our groups cook standing there with her cook book in hand. She announced, “Pray for eggs! I just realized that if I have eggs, I can cook breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. Eggs are versatile!” Prayer number two. We bowed our head as one of the leaders asked God to provide eggs. Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it? Praying for eggs?
As we lifted our heads at the end of the prayer, a teenage cowgirl that we had all become accustomed to seeing that week, stood in the doorway with flats of eggs in her hands. She announced, “The chickens have been layin’ and momma told me to bring y’all some eggs.” A cheer went up from everyone seated. In a small way, God had proved his existence and that he was listening. Odds cannot explain away the moment, but there was more to come … much, much more. We had no clue!
She set the flats of eggs on the counter. As she walked out, a man in a business suit walked in with a dozen eggs. “I’m not a rancher or farmer like most of the people in this area. I’m just the local insurance agent, but my wife asked me to drop this off to you. We have a few chickens and … well … they seem to be really laying this week.” No cheer this time. We just sat stunned at his statement.
As the insurance agent was walking out, a small woman walked in wearing a lace hat and white gloves, the church octogenarian. She politely announced that their local church enjoyed devilled eggs when they held a potluck, and she wanted to share some with us. She was holding one of those large devilled egg Tupperware containers, the kind that has three rows of trays with a lid. I snickered and leaned toward my friend sitting next to me and said, “Devilled eggs! That proves God has a sense of humor.”
That afternoon was spent at a sister church in Yoder, Wyoming, not far from Huntley.
When we returned for the evening, there stood the cook, beaming from ear-to-ear as we came down the stairs to the basement fellowship hall. As we entered, we all stopped, dumbfounded, looking at a counter full of eggs. Cartons, flats, containers of every kind. We stood speechless, staring at a counter full of eggs that measured eight feet long, two feet deep and two feet high.
In that moment, I realized that God was not a church building, but a real living being that heard our prayers. Odds don’t even come close. Furthermore, the cook said that all of the donations came without any discussion. Everyone had just walked through the door. She hadn’t told anyone about our prayer. And it was eggs and only eggs that streamed through the door.
Who we believe God is, really does determine how we pray.
Is God just an intimate relic sitting next to a church pew? Something that you stand in front of when you pray? Or is he a living, listening God that you have a real relationship with. Challenge him and see if he really answers. We did.
Our trip ended five days later as we pulled into Wickenburg, Arizona to gas up and eat lunch, about sixty miles from our church in Phoenix. That afternoon we put the last twelve dollars from our gas fund in the vehicles (remember those days?) and the cook announced that she used the last of the eggs to make lunch for us: Egg Salad Sandwiches. And before eating that meal, the entire group thanked God for eggs.
Is God real? You bet he is! In my life he is first and foremost, the God of eggs, a loving God that listens in time of need.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10 NIV