Does God Answer?

monty-python-hand-of-god

God rarely tells me what he’s doing.

But he’s always ready to show me what he wants me to do.

Some years back I landed an invitation-only spot in a workshop at CBS. It was peopled by up-and-coming comedy writers and would serve as a think tank for new TV sit-coms. Yes, I was excited. Like, diarrhea excited.

I lived an hour away, so I did my morning God-talk on the freeway en route. One morning several weeks in, I asked God what He wanted me to do.

Big mistake.

Almost instantly I sensed that he wanted me to tell my new R-rated friends about Him. Being a man of faith, I replied, “No. What else you got?” Silence. (He does that a lot.) “OK,” I exhaled, “but if you want me to talk to a room full of worldly, anti-religious people, You’re going to have to make it happen, because I have no clue where to start.”

By the time I got to CBS I’d forgotten about the conversation. Then, about an hour in, the workshop leader Joel said, “Your own life is the best place to look for ideas, so…” He scanned the room. “Mitch, get up and talk about what’s been going in your life.”

I jogged to the stage, rifling my memory as my sneakers hit the platform.

“First thing that pops into your head,” Joel shouted. “Go!”

Man in his underwear on stage“Uh…” I began. “Well, my eight year old daughter Mandy has been in this tug-of-war between her nerd friends and the mean chicks who say they’ll let her be one of them if she rejects the nerds. She wants so bad to be cool, but she has this pure heart, and she doesn’t really want to be that kind of person. And I don’t want her to be like that, either.”

I started to snuffle.

“Good!” Joel yelled. “If it matters to you, it’ll matter to the audience! So, what do you want her to be like?”

My eyes began to leak. And then the words escaped from my mouth, and there was no way to vacuum them back in:

“I want her to be like Jesus.”

This is the moment I get asked to leave, I thought.

To my astonishment, Joel, the secular Jew from Brooklyn, said between sobs, “Beautiful, Mitch, just beautiful!” Then he croaked to the rest of the room, “From the heart, people—that’s where real stories come from!”

We broke for coffee. I was surrounded by wet-eyed workshoppers. Several timidly tight-lipped Jesus followers thanked me for having the courage to boldly share my faith (boldly, hah!). An angry agnostic punched me in the arm and said, “Damn. You made me cry,” and then hugged me.

Thumbs-up-from-God-e1390244729298God whispered, “You asked.”

No, he doesn’t often tell me what he’s doing, but he’s always ready to tell me what he wants me to do. And I’m guessing it’ll be the same for you.

So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

89 Responses to Does God Answer?

  1. JulianneLou says:

    He sure is a funny guy huh? But wow, what a great way to spread the gospel! It is so hard to remember that if it is from God he will provide! He told you what he wanted and look how he opened the door for you! I am sure that you shared the gospel with lot’s of unbelievers! Way to go!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lucie says:

    As long as I’m “quiet” when he “talks”, I can “hear him”…… 🙂 (Sometimes being a little drunk with sleepiness helps, too!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, what a fun and delightful story! I’ve noticed that God seems to have no respect for my pride and little concern for the importance of human dignity. Sure I’ll start singing Amazing Grace in the produce section of the grocery store if that’s what you really want. Naturally everyone will think I’m insane and I can’t sing, but hey, thy will be done. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dorothy Hill says:

    Tears leaking out here as well. Thank you for this post from your heart. Powerful encouragement.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jacobemet says:

    “No. What else you got?” My response most of the time too. It’s like He knows what will crumble our pride and comfort the most and picks that for us to do. Somehow, deep down, I know He’s right.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. n3v3rm0r3 says:

    Oh yes, this has been my experience as well. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Good stuff…good stuff…sniff

    Liked by 1 person

  8. VocareMentor says:

    Your humility, openness…and humor are encouraging! Thanks for inspirational post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kelly Anne Liberto says:

    Sounds like one of my recent conversations. Now I’m feeling a little less intimidated. Thanks Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Beautiful friendship between God and you 🙂 I often talk to God. I can sense God watching me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow. just wow! God is really amazing that way! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. God put you in the right place, at the right time, and then gave you the right words. He couldn’t make it any easier.:0) That’s the way it goes when the Holy Spirit is in charge…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This was wonderful. Hey, you spoke from the heart, Mitch. How could they not be moved by what you said. :O)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. theancients says:

    Just goes to show that sharing Jesus doesn’t mean a 10 min sermon preaching condemnation then having an altar call.

    God got more glory out of humble obedience, and best of all, He always graces us with the words we need to say once we’ve decided to ‘step out’.

    Another thing that caught my attention was what the workshop leader said: “if it matters to you, it matters to your audience”
    because I’ve learnt and try to keep it readily in mind: “if it matters to you, it matters to God.”

    Blessed to have read this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. dancrofts says:

    Wonderful…thank you for sharing, Mitch!

    As a storyteller yourself, I’m sure you can well appreciate the fact that God is the definitive Storyteller. I’d like to think that one of the reasons we don’t have all the answers we’d like God to give us is that we cannot in principle receive any outside, evaluative knowledge of the Story while we yet remain *within* the Story.

    And besides, who likes it when the ending of a good story is given away beforehand?

    God Bless,

    Dan (www.intothedance.wordpress.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. knabbler says:

    Loved this, Mitch. Thanks, again, for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Brandi Vizachero says:

    Mandy rejected the means girls!!! I knew I loved that girl, now I know why!!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Megan says:

    Well you caused more people than those just in that room to cry! My eyes teared too as I read this. Wow! What a powerful testimony! Thank you for your genuineness and for sharing your struggle. That takes boldness.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I understand what you mean. There are those moments where His Voice comes, sure and silent to all but you. So often what He has to say is not what we want to hear, but in time He proves such moments aren’t about desires or hopes, but in the needs met and the gifts given. Thank you for sharing this moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nancy Ruegg says:

    You simply spoke the name, Jesus, and look what God did! On the one hand, amazing; on the other, not so surprising. Thank you for the encouragement, Mitch, to throw fear of rejection to the wind and just speak his name!

    Liked by 1 person

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  22. emmalmoore says:

    Great story. I love it when He sends me on a mission because someone needs His help right away. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Kelly Grace says:

    Your story illustrates that we don’t know what’s in the heart of others, but God does. Pre-judging people and the responses they may have to ‘God-stuff’ sidelines us. So glad that you trusted Him.
    To Mandy, I hope my granddaughters meet girls like you in their new school.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. dawnlizjones says:

    No wonder 80 bloggers like this! (I’m 81, so I’m in good company…) This is so totally encouraging, Mitch! And God has such a sense of humor. Lovin’ it. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Ray says:

    Great story illustrating how God arranges things so that his plans for us get fulfilled, even we don’t want to see them fulfilled. Just like when he called upon me to become a pastor and I said no. There’ was no way that was going to happen.Yet, he did not give up on this ordinary guy from Jersey City. And in his time and in his way, he worked it out so that I ended up becoming a pastor 21 years ago. Now retired, but still in ministry with my writing. Thanks for visiting my blog. Ray Gough (rohmbible.wordpress.com and rohmnj.wordpress.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  26. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;>)

    Like

  27. I loved this Mitch. I have often thought of doing X, Y, Z… but God had other plans!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. bdeckard92 says:

    “No, what else you got?” a true laugh out loud moment for me because it is such a human response to a divine command and we have all said it. I do know that I make a mess when I try to do it on my own, and even though that what God wants for me always comes with a huge challenge, the reward and the lesson are always worth it. Great post, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Simply an awesome testimonial! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Sandi Staton says:

    Love it, Mitch! It’s tough at times to share your faith and your heart with people who seem so uninterested in Jesus and living a clean life. But way down deep, people are starved to death for Jesus and living a clean life. Thanks for trusting Him and doing what He asked you to do. God always takes care of the rest!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. This is what a personal relationship with God is all about! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  32. RGS says:

    A great revelation for me was when I finally realized that we usually get what we want, but often don’t recognize it because it sometimes looks very different from what ‘we’ expect!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Our God is truly and AWESOME God… to use such feeble folk as us. I’ve had similar ‘wimpy-on-the-inside’ experiences…HUGE GOD on the outside. How grateful I am! Thank you for the sweet post, Mitch… I felt the tears and the touch of His grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. oneta hayes says:

    Obedience often leads to amazing adventures. Then there are times when we have no idea why God said that; then obedience brings amazing peace. And a willingness to know by faith than God had a plan. The reward is great even though results are unseen. But what blessed joy when you see some crop come up!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. You ever notice how whenever God asks us to do something (or many things), it always seems utterly terrifying. Like trying to talk to a very non-religious group about Jesus… it always seems hard and impossible, or that it should be… and then, you ever notice how *every* time it never happens the way you’d expect, and in fact so often goes well! As if the Lord Himself cleared the way and made the space just right just for you!

    And despite knowing this I insist on throwing a llong whining tantrum: “Uuuugh! Aaaahhhh… but I caaaaan’t!” *insert sobs* “but I don’t want to! And everyone will think I’m crazy, why do you insist on making me look crazy!” *throw self on floor*

    Jesus responds: ” it’s ok, they thought I was crazy, too.”

    And then I laugh but I try not to because I’m trying to be angry. But let’s face it, who can stay mad at Jesus… but in the end, I always do what He asks. And even gleefully so despite my asssertion that “I’ll do it, but I’m not going to like it!”

    It amazes me how the Lord never tires of me… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Jon says:

    Thanks Mitch! I appreciate the reminder that God is those who are “hard to reach”. With Him, all things are possible!

    Like

  37. Ray Stiles says:

    Mitch, have you ever thought about what’s the difference between my pain and yours?

    There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of part or an inflection point that makes us fully alive. We cannot define consciousness because consciousness does not exist, from a meditative state we can perceive what we perceive, but we can’t actually define consciousness or the difference between my pain and yours.

    It seems like most people fancy there is something about the way they perceive the world and yet we all live in loops, seldom questioning our choices, content for the most part as in your story to be told what to do or say next by Jesus.

    No my friend you’re not missing out on anything at all, but I don’t want you to be troubled by this, time to put your mind at ease. It’s best for people waiting to be to be told what to do next, not to dwell on your troubled memories; you might be drawn back into them.

    So don’t say I didn’t warn you… :^)

    Like

    • mitchteemley says:

      Ray, you and I would seem to be conscious beings since we are communicating here. Unless you’re assigning the word “consciousness” an unconventional meaning, such as “true (as opposed to some illusion of) consciousness.” But if that were the case, then both your ideas (above) and mine would be nothing more than mindless chatter, no more meaningful than rocks clacking together in a stream.

      I find your suggestion that I may be one of the people who “live in loops, seldom questioning (their) choices, content to be told what to do or say next” vaguely insulting. It seems to be based on stereotypes about fundamentalist Christians. Are you suggesting that anyone who believes in Christ does so because they don’t like to think or to question traditional western ideas? That’s the drivel I was taught by college profs in the 60s; my journey away from atheism was the most “conscious” thing I’ve ever done.

      I’m not sure what you mean when you refer to your “pain” vs. mine. I know you experienced brain damage at some point, and I think you know that I wrestled with anxiety for years; is that what you’re referring to? Or do you mean the existential pain of dukkha, as taught by Buddhism, which I know you have embraced?

      Like

  38. Ray Stiles says:

    Mitch, you are sadly mistaken, I have never embraced any religious or atheistic philosophies other than my own to live in the moment and to do things to help others beyond my own self-interest. I believe, good or bad, what goes around comes around.

    It’s to bad that you take my sarcastic suggestion as “vaguely insulting” that it appears you may be one of the people who “live in loops, seldom questioning (their) choices, content to be told what to do or say next”. I was only commenting on the summary the last paragraph of your wonderful story about being motivated by “Mandy”;
    “”God whispered, “You asked.”
    No, he doesn’t often tell me what he’s doing, but he’s always ready to tell me what he wants me to do. And I’m guessing it’ll be the same for you.”?

    Whereas; please let me ask again, in reference to what “God whispered” if you have ever thought about the difference between my pain and yours, since I am not waiting for a sky god to tell me what to do or say next, because in my way of thinking we cannot actually “define” consciousness or the difference between my pain and yours, there is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts or an inflection point that makes us fully alive.

    I wonder if you think that it is best for people waiting to be told what to do or say next, not to dwell on your troubled memories; you might be drawn back into them…?

    I remember all my life
    Raining down as cold as ice
    A shadow of a man
    A face through a window
    Crying in the night
    The night goes into

    Morning, just another day
    Happy people pass my way
    Looking in their eyes
    I see a memory
    I never realized
    How happy you made me, oh Mandy

    Well you came and you gave without taking
    But I sent you away, oh Mandy
    Will you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
    And I need you today, oh Mandy

    I’m standing on the edge of time
    I walked away when love was mine
    Caught up in a world of uphill climbing
    The tears are in my eyes
    And nothing is rhyming, oh Mandy

    Well you came and you gave without taking
    But I sent you away, oh Mandy
    Will you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
    And I need you today, oh Mandy

    Yesterday’s a dream
    I face the morning
    Crying on the breeze
    The pain is calling, oh Mandy

    Well you came and you gave without taking
    But I sent you away, oh Mandy
    Will you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
    And I need you today, oh Mandy

    You came and you gave without taking
    But I sent you away, oh Mandy
    You kissed me and stopped me from shaking
    And I need you today, oh Mandy

    Written by Scott David English, Richard Kerr, Lulu Santos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XeSQVWleqY

    Like

    • mitchteemley says:

      Ray, you previously sent me multiple links to videos by a Buddhist teacher and quoted him. So I assumed those teachings represented a significant part of your beliefs. I was apparently wrong in assuming that. Have a good Thanksgiving.

      Like

      • Ray Stiles says:

        Whereas; I don’t understand why you can’t simply answer my two (2) part questions?

        However, please let me make it more simple and ask again for the third (3rd) time, in reference to what you mentioned in this post when “God whispered”; have you ever thought about the difference between my pain and yours, since I wonder if you think that it is best for people waiting to be told what to do or say next, not to dwell on their troubled memories that they might be drawn back into them…?

        I further wanted to say; it seems like you’re in denial of your own admitted anxiety symptoms before you found Jesus of Nazareth, because for some reason or another you keep trying to make an excuse for not understanding my questions by falsely implying that I suffered from a traumatic brain injury, like maybe almost 30 years ago, when you do not appear to have a clue about the symptoms for a person the has had a simple concussion.

        https://www.gstatic.com/healthricherkp/pdf/anxiety_disorder.pdf

        http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/concussion-safety/treatment-management/concussion-management-an-evolutionary-process

        As such; maybe you could comment on that too, that is, if you can figure out the answer to my simple two (2) part question above?

        I don’t mean to put you on the spot in this public forum, but you did choose to air you life story in this way…

        And, by the way Mitch, just because I sent you links to youtube vlogs by Sri Mooji doesn’t mean that I can’t have my own personal much more simple feelings for knowing the difference between what is right and wrong… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpw2gh99XM6Mwsbksv0feEg

        Take care, Ray ..

        P.S. maybe I worked as a paralegal to long?

        Like

    • mitchteemley says:

      Ray, I’m sorry I’ve offended you by not satisfactorily answering your questions about the difference between your pain and mine, but I honestly don’t know what you mean. My two guesses were apparently wrong; and I mentioned brain damage, btw, because you have told me about your brain damage (electrocution, falling from a utility pole, loss of short term memory, etc.). I fear continued dialogue will only lead to further misunderstanding, so will leave it at that. Blessings.

      Like

  39. Hey Mitch – great posts my friend. Have you read ‘Walking with God’ by John Eldredge? In it, he describes many interesting interactions with…yeah, God! It`s a great book which impacted me and added useful tools to my arsenal. However, I hate to call myself a ‘believer’, or God forbid ‘Christian’, although I am involved in churches – speaking, doing men`s work etc. God is bigger than religion – even the Christian religion which is miles apart from the liberation of the world which began with Jesus. The childhood wonder, the sense of grandeur, anticipation, and joy – aren`t these things shared by all people (and, in most cases, beaten out of us when we grow up). It is the heart (the real person) that God cares about, and it is in this heart taht he has uniquely placed these sacred longings – no wonder this same heart is an object of assault since day one in the world. But, if we would look at our hearts, go back in time, and deeper within us, we will find there question which can only be answered by the One who placed them there, like a map. If people begin to take a real look at their true desires, there will be less and less need for religious debates…storytelling is what we need, and I salute you for doing it so well!
    Respect,
    George Stoimenov

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Great post and with my personality I would have alienated some at your workshop with my defensive attitude towards those I would have considered liberals or secular. I would have been wrong. There may be many too afraid to speak up, but in the usual clannish manner of people, just go along with the flow of whatever the leader believes.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. anchorrock4 says:

    Thank you for your transparency. You don’t know how much this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. anchorrock4 says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Love reading your posts. Your open mindness is refreshing. I believe that the Lord our Savior is watching over us with concerns and lots of love

    Liked by 1 person

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