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The Parable Of
THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT
Casey finally got up off his knees. He had been praying hard. Again. He had been very lonely since he started college, and he really wanted a girlfriend. All of his school buddies had a girl, everyone except him. Again. He thought that being in college would be different than High School. Thinking like that is what got him through all those lonely weekends. He thought he would find a nice co-ed on campus, but here it was, another Friday night, alone. Even his roommate was out on a date.
At least he knew which girl he wanted. Her name was Cindy. He met her in chemistry class at the beginning of the semester. He prayed that he would be able to get into her study group, but it was full. He prayed to be able to sit next to her in class, but there wasn’t much opportunity to socialize. He prayed that he could be her lab partner, but someone else beat him to it. He prayed to be able to see her at lunchtime, but their schedules didn’t coincide. He was wondering why God wasn’t answering his prayers. He went to church regularly, and he lived a righteous life. He never asked much for himself, and he had always said humble and fervent prayers.
Casey thought that he needed to be persistent and maintain his faith. Surely, God did not want him to be lonely. He decided to pray again, but this time, he would pray that Cindy would agree to go out with him on a date. Just as he was walking back to his bedroom, his roommate, John, walked in the front door.
“How was your date?” Casey asked.
“Great!” John answered. “What did you do all night?”
“Same old thing”, Casey sighed.
“Well, Cindy can’t read your mind”, John pointed out. “Why don’t you talk to her?”
“I was just thinking the same thing”, said Casey.
“Wishing won’t make it come true”, said John. “You’ve got to do something. Do you have her phone number?”
“Yes…”, Casey said, nervously.
“Just call her and ask her to a movie tomorrow night. Get to the point.”
“I’m afraid she’ll want to stay home and study, even on Saturday nights. Alone.”
“Everyone needs a break from studying”, John remarked. “Remind her of that.”
“Alright, you talked me into it”, Casey said. He decided to have a nice, long prayer first. He explained to God about why he liked this girl so much, and how lonely he was, and that all he wanted was for her to go out on a date with him once.
“Well, that’s not really true”, Casey said when he thought about it. “What I really want is for her to be my girlfriend. That would solve so many of my problems, and make me feel much better.” Casey continued to plead his case until he felt he made his point. Then he got up off his knees, took a deep breath, and picked up the phone.
A few minutes later, he came downstairs, smiling.
“Well?” said John.
“She said yes!” Casey couldn’t hold in his excitement. He did a little dance around the room. “She’s going to call me to come pick her up when she gets off work.”
“See? That was easy”, said John. “What other problems do you want me to fix?” John said, pleased with himself.
“Well, world hunger is still a problem”, said Casey.
“Talk to God about that one”, said John.
“God already gave me the answer I was looking for”, thought Casey, happily.
The next day seemed to drag. Casey was ready for his date by noon, although Cindy wouldn’t be calling until sometime that evening. He didn’t know what to do with himself until then. He couldn’t sit still long enough to study, so he decided to watch TV.
Before he knew it, the clock chimed six. That’s when he started to check the dial tone on the phone every few minutes. At seven, he phoned John, who had already left on his date, and asked him to call back, to make sure the phone was working.
At eight, he
began looking at his watch every few minutes.
By nine, he noticed his foot was jumping up and down, and he was drumming his fingers and clenching his teeth.
At ten he tried calling Cindy, but her roommate said she wasn’t home.
At eleven, his anxiety turned into depression. John came home from his date sometime after that, and he was surprised to see Casey watching TV.
“What happened to Cindy?” John asked.
“I guess she had to work late”, Casey said with a sigh. “I’m going to bed.”
“Me, too”, said John, not knowing how to console his friend. “I’m not feeling very well. I think I’m coming down with something.”
“See you in the morning”, Casey said. As he lay in bed, he couldn’t help staring at his digital clock, watching minute after minute go by. At midnight, he was just nodding off, when the phone rang. He jumped two feet in the air as he ran to answer it.
“Hello, Casey? This is Cindy. I’m sorry for calling so late. I just got off work. I know an all-night café, if it’s not too late.”
“No, not at all”, Casey stammered. “I’ll come pick you up right now.”
“That’s great”, said Cindy. “I don’t know when I’ll have some free time again.” She gave him directions before she hung up.
Casey was elated. He grabbed his keys and ran out to his car. His smile deflated when it wouldn’t start; it was out of gas. He wanted to kick himself all the way back to the apartment. There was only one thing to do: he banged on his roommate’s bedroom door.
“John! Give me your car keys! Cindy just called, and I’m out of gas!”
There was no answer. He banged again.
“Go away!” John groaned.
“I need to borrow your car”, Casey persisted.
“Do you know what time it is?” John said, annoyed.
“Come on, John….”
“It’s too late. I’m sick. Go back to bed.”
“Please John? Just this once? She’s waiting for me right now to pick her up at work.”
Casey heard John’s footsteps coming to the door. John opened it and tossed Casey the keys.
That was when things went from bad to worse. It didn’t take Casey long to find out that Cindy wasn’t pleasant company, after all. She had nothing good to say about anyone or anything. Even Casey wasn’t exempt from her sharp tongue. She criticized his clothes, hair, nails, choice of food, and his driving. Needless to say, he kept the date short, and couldn’t wait to get home.
Unfortunately, his troubles weren’t over. He was in such a hurry to get home, he exceeded the speed limit, and was promptly pulled over by the police.
“Sir”, the officer said, “may I see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance?”
Casey handed him the papers. “This is my friend’s car”, he explained. “He loaned it to me tonight.”
“You’re not insured to drive this vehicle”, the officer said, reading over the papers.
Twenty minutes later, Casey was driving home with his infraction tickets. As he walked through the door to his room, he said, “I should have stayed in bed.”
As tired as he was, he still said his prayers. He expressed his gratitude for getting what he prayed for; then he expressed his sorrow for getting what he asked for. As he closed his prayer, he felt God’s gentle nudge, telling him, “My child, when I say ‘No’, it’s because I love you.”
THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT (Luke 11:5-8)
“Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him;’ and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”