How are you?
How are you doing today?
How’s it going?
These are questions you get asked many times each day. If you are like most, you reply quickly with the same answer you always give.
Fine, how are you?
I’m good, how about you?
OK, and you?
These questions have become customs in our culture. They are as common as the handshake and almost as meaningless. The handshake used to be a bond or a promise. It was a guarantee of a man’s word. “Let’s shake on it”. Today the handshake has been replaced with a 14 page contract drawn up by lawyers. A handshake today is a mere pleasantry, something you do upon meeting and greeting someone. When someone extends their hand to you, yours automatically extends to meet theirs, it’s customary. In the same sense, we say “Hi” or “Hello” as an expression of greeting. It comes natural, we don’t have to work on remembering to say hello when we greet someone. Hello, in itself, requires no thought from the person to whom it was directed. It doesn’t ask anything of them, it is simply a pleasantry. Somewhere along the way we added “How are you?” to “hello,” but we really just lengthened the pleasantry.
Let’s be honest, out of all the times you have said, “Hello, how are you?” or “I’m fine, how are you?” how often do you really mean: I’m concerned about you. I love you and care about you. I really want to know what is going on in your world because I want to know if there is a way I can help. Now before you answer, let’s all remember what our day to day life is like. We are all very, very busy… multitasking, jobs, kids, school, traffic, etc. Take a quick look at your calendar… How many entries are listed for an honest response to the question, “How are you?” Do you really have time for three people a day to actually tell you the truth? In fact, do you really have the time to tell anyone the truth when you’re asked? Do you have anyone in your life that you trust enough to tell them the truth if they asked?
Imagine with me for a minute that Jesus is sitting across from you right now. He lovingly smiles at you and says, “Hello, how are you?” What is your response? Do you answer the same way you do when everyone else asks? The Creator of the universe has just asked how you are. What do you say? What do you trust Him with enough to share with Him? God is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, He knows all things, and in fact, He knows how you are doing right now better than you do. Do you know how many hairs are on your head today? He does. He already knows any and everything you could possibly share with him and yet He asks you… He gives you the choice and the opportunity to talk about anything you desire. Let’s imagine further that Jesus speaks again asking, “Is there any hurt place in your heart you would like Me to heal? Is there any area in your life right now that needs encouraging? Is there anything you would like Me to speak to? Is there anything at all I can do for you… or are you OK?”
Now our mind begins to race. Jesus has just asked me if there is anything He can heal, encourage, speak to or am I OK. Almost like He was heading out to the store and said, “I’m going out to get a few things, do you need anything, or are you OK?” Do I trust God enough to ask Him for help? Do I trust God enough to admit to Him those places in my heart that have been hurt? Do I trust God enough with the areas in my life that have been beaten down and need encouraging? Do I have time to sit and talk?
Making room for people might be tough… Making room for God is vital.
Matthew 7:7-12 The Message
Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?