When I was in high school, Spring Break meant very little to me. One thing I did love, however, was the fact that my friends who went to school were off for a whole week or more. One such friend was my cousin David. We were really close when we were younger and, one year, he came and spent Spring Break with my family at Eyrie Park. We dyed his hair bright red, which wasn’t appreciated by his private school, but that’s a story for another time. I believe it was during this stay that our fridge decided to give up the ghost. It was stormy outside while we moved all of our refrigerated items onto the big table in the den. During this process, I picked up our bulk-size bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and accidentally spilled the entire thing onto the pantry floor.
Somehow, I got distracted by the rest of the mess (melty things everywhere!) and my cousin and didn’t go back to clean up the chocolate for several minutes. When I did remember to retrace my steps, I found something horrifying. Or, rather, I found nothing. The chocolate was gone. But in it’s place was our little poodle, Molly.
Dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate. It’s considered poisonous to them. And Molly had a sensitive stomach to boot. That was the day I almost killed the dog.
We called the vet and she said to pour hydrogen peroxide down Molly’s throat if she wasn’t throwing up. We thought for sure she would vomit the whole thing out, her being so small and sensitive and the chocolate being so plentiful. We sat her some newspaper and watched her. And waited. And waited…
Nothing. Not a burp. It was time to try the hydrogen peroxide. We were getting nervous. Especially me, murderess. We looked in our medicine cabinet and found the open bottle and poured the contents down her little throat with a turkey baster. And waited. And waited.
We had used up our hydrogen peroxide and Molly wasn’t flinching, so we put on raincoats and ventured out into the storm and started knocking on neighbor’s doors. It was late and raining and we don’t even know our neighbors all that well. But thankfully, one of them offered us their unopened bottle of hydrogen peroxide and we gladly accepted it and, if I recall, poured the entire thing into our beloved pup’s mouth.
Finally, she got off the paper and walked over to her bed and then the carpet and…let it all out. Of course, not on the paper! It was a bonafide mess but we were so relieved that Molly Moo would be okay. We had several more happy years of her company after that. It was a Spring Break to remember, and a victory–thanks to those neighbors who opened their doors into the rainy night.
This event often comes to mind when I read what I think is one of the strangest passages in the Bible:
“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:6-10
Wait, wait. Is this suggesting that I’m supposed to be impudent toward God? That seems so wrong, and weird at that. Shouldn’t we feel guilty for bothering God?
I recently have been listening to a Vespers station on Pandora while I’m at work. (The Vespers are my favorite band right now, check them out!) A song by Punch Brothers came on that made me laugh. The song is from the perspective of a “backslider” who is only praying because he really wants to win the affections of a religious girl. The whole song is pretty clever, but this line stuck out to me:
‘Cause there’s this girl this girl this girl this girl this girl
And I’d be the happiest backslider in the world
If you would tell her it’s your will for us to be together
I would never bother you again
“This Girl” by Punch Brothers
Ain’t that the truth, though? If God would just grant us our every wish, we’d never bother Him again. And judging by the attitude of the man who was in bed with his children, (co-sleeping alert!) He would appreciate that.
But that’s not what the Bible says, is it? Ask, seek, knock, it says. Three verbs. That’s like knocking and ringing the bell and knocking again, louder.
I am still not entirely sure about being impudent, but I think the message is this: God wants to be bothered by us. Because when we knock on His door, He is not irritated that He has to get out of bed and rouse his children from sleep. We are His children. He is not slow to bless us. We are slow to knock.
Would you like to know that your little child was keeping something from you that you could be helping with? Would you like it if they never told you when they were hungry, even if it meant not having to hear them nag? Again, the analogy breaks down a bit because God does already know our needs and desires, but He wants the relationship of a father and a child, not an automatic payment plan and a recipient.
When I made a huge mistake and fed our dog five pounds of chocolate chips, we were desperate. And we were humble enough to trudge through the rain and desperately knock on the doors of near-strangers. And we were obedient enough to pour the whole bottle down her throat. And we were literally on our knees, pouring and waiting and praying because a life depended on it.
We asked and it was given to us. We sought and found. We knocked and it was opened to us.
“…how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13
This post is dedicated to Molly Elizabeth Dolly Kraft-Giles, 1999-2014.