A good friend of mine recently mentioned that Godiva dark chocolate-covered cherries are her favorite. This sticks in my brain, because, you know, it’s about chocolate. I decide I’ll bring her a delicious gift the next time I fly out to see her. She’s a nice gal and likely to share, so this is a win/win for me.
I google Godiva stores and discover exactly ONE in my entire metro area. And it’s way across town.
Still, my friend is worth it.
On last-minute-errands day, I hurry to the mall complex, which is inexplicably crammed with cars. I park after three fruitless tries at following heavily laden shoppers to their vehicles. Why can’t people actually leave instead of jamming bags into their trunks and heading back to the stores? No one even waves apologetically at me.
When I finally get inside the mall, I must traverse the entire concourse to get to chocolate paradise. I don’t have time to drool over all the confections lining the displays (tragedy, I know), so I flag down the salesman. He’s dressed in a suit that’s more of a GQ attempt than a success, with a pale green tie that makes him look anemic.
“I need to buy some dark chocolate-covered cherries,” I tell him.
I frown. “There’s different kinds?”
“Regular cherries or dried?”
Ah. That’d be a difference. “I’ve never had the dried. Can I try a sample?”
“We don’t have any.”
“You don’t give samples?”
“I mean you can’t buy any. They don’t make ’em anymore.”
So we are discussing them…why?
He looks at me expectantly, like he hasn’t just wasted the last ten seconds of my life.
“Fine. I’ll take a box of the regular.” Hopefully that’s my friend’s favorite anyway.
“We’re out of those.”
“Out as in gone? You have none?”
“We sold out months ago.”
Did he not just lead me through a discussion about which kind I wanted? Right now what I want is to grab his pasty little tie and wring his pasty little neck.
He shrugs at my glare. “They go fast.”
I have just had possibly the most futile conversation of my life.
And they pay this guy for that.
I’m heading home, fuming, when God’s voice breaks in. “You’re mad because he asked you which kind of cherries you wanted as if it mattered, when all along he had no plans to act on your answer?”
“It was pointless. Why would he do that?”
“Have you never put me through a conversation that is just as futile?”
“Is your mind already made up when you ask for my wisdom?”
“Are your plans already settled when you ask for my guidance?”
“Have you already decided the outcome you want when you ask for my will to be done?” (Click to tweet this)
“Is it not the same charade?”
Yes. The very same.
That’s when I understand the difference between true prayer and simply talking at God.
One is futile and insulting.
The other is reverent.
May I never mistake that again.
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