Not a Trained Monkey

“When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle.”                       – Luke 23:8

I was raised in a Christian home, but like anyone else, I needed to come to a point where I made my parents’ faith my own. For me that happened late one night as I lay awake fretting.

For perhaps the first time in my life I was wondering, What if all this about God isn’t true? What if there is no God? Or what if there is, and He’s mean? Or He doesn’t care?

For the first time in my life I said a prayer that was not someone else’s words that I had memorized. It was, simply, God, if You’re there, give me a sign.

Something happened in that moment, though my memory isn’t clear as to what exactly it was. It may have been something randomly falling off a shelf. I do know that it made a sudden noise, and I was impressed! He answered me! I prayed again, and this time it was not the prayer of a seeker, but that of a spoiled brat: That was cool! Do it again!

Nothing happened.

You might imagine that I was disappointed, but on the contrary, I think God spoke to me more clearly in the “nothing” than in the noise. Though not an audible voice, the message was loud and clear, even to a very young child: You don’t need Me to do it again. You know I’m here. And I did know.

One thing was clear: God was there, and He cared about me enough to reveal Himself to me when I asked. But once I knew He was there, He also made it very clear that He was not there to entertain me. This was not some trained monkey, this was the God of the universe. And what He had for me was way more exciting than a few magic tricks.

Prayer: Lord, we know that we are here to do Your will, not the other way around. Help us to have a divine perspective of Who You are and to live accordingly – totally yielded to You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

13 thoughts on “Not a Trained Monkey

    1. As I said, it was even cooler to “hear” the Still, Small Voice – not an audible voice, but a sense that I could know Him, – and He WANTED me to know Him – and not just as Someone who would give me whatever I wanted. He’s so much more than a “yes man.” When He says “no,” I know He’s got a better idea, and I can’t wait to see what it is! 😉

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  1. Have you seen “God’s Got a Better Idea (So, What Else Is New?)” on my blog? You might get a chuckle out of it. Actually, my blog is full of those stories, where God was one step ahead of us all – we just needed a new (divine) perspective. 😉

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  2. I do hope you read the rest of the story! If we already know He’s there (and He promised He would be), He’s ready to take us past signs, to faith. It’s harder, I know, but the “signs” we wait for are more awesome than we can imagine. Watch for Him at work in unexpected ways – and let me know what you see.

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  3. As I read your wonderful post, I told of all the people that have asked for Him to show Himself that were not answered and promptly moved away, deciding that it meant He was NOT there. As I read through the comments and your replies, I recalled the doubting Thomas who only believed Jesus when he put fingers through his hands and side. It is easy to recognize Him when he shows himself. It’s much harder to ‘see’ when He does not, but it does not mean that he is NOT.

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    1. Poor Thomas. All the other disciples doubted, but since he wasn’t there the first time, he’s the one that got labeled the “doubter.” In his defense, (and I didn’t notice this until we were reading the passage in a Sunday school class last summer.) Scripture doesn’t say that he ever put his finger in the nail holes, he just declared, “My Lord and my God!” Maybe just hearing the beloved voice did it. Who knows? We’ll have to ask him when we see him. 😉
      Thanks for stopping by, Goldie. It’s encouraging to know the old posts are still being read.

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      1. No, it does not. But he says he won’t believe until he does so and then Jesus tells him to do so, so… it might be self-explanatory. But that might just be an incorrect assumption. You’re right.

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