Isn’t there an app for that?

Confession time, again: I’m addicted to my iPhone. But I don’t have a ton of apps. I have exactly 26 apps on my phone, including three game apps (no, Angry Birds isn’t one of them), a dictionary app and all of the apps that come preset on the phone.

Apple’s web site touts 425,000 apps for iPhone. So no wonder they’ve trademarked the phrase, “There’s an app for that.”

I got really excited about one of those 425,000 apps the other day. My Real Simple magazine this month told of a free app called Leafsnap that could help me identify trees using pictures of their leaves. Knowing how I love trees, are you surprised that I’d be happy to download that app? After reading reviews of the new app, I thought I was prepared for its limitations. I wouldn’t be able to take my phone out on hikes and snap away happily at the variety of leaves to get an immediate correct answer. Instead, I would have to take the leaves off of trees or from the ground and stage them back home on a white background. Plus, the site’s list of leaves is limited now to the northeastern United States, and so some of the trees near me may not be in their database.

But I played around with the app anyway, hoping it would identify at least one or two of the leaves I collected.

Yes, there’s a fake leaf in there, just for fun.

I didn’t have much luck. For each leaf picture I “snapped,” I got back twenty or so choices, most of which didn’t even remotely match the leaf in question. I was disappointed, but I had fun with it anyway. And the Leafsnap site has beautiful photos of leaves and fruit that may help you identify trees in your neighborhood. Who knows – maybe you could turn it into a fun weekend project for you and your kids?

Don’t I need an app for all of my questions?
My disappointment with the app reminded me of how impatient I can be for answers. Why can’t the app tell me what kind of tree gets the horrible caterpillar tents in my backyard every year? Why won’t the cable company give me a smaller window of wait time for the repair tech to show up? Why hasn’t the physical therapist fixed my heel problem already? (These are real questions I asked myself today.)

And why can’t God program an app for me to send prayers to Him and get His answers back, clearly right there in black and white on my iPhone’s little screen? He could call it the iAm app (or iAmIAM, if the capital letters are really important to Him). I bet it would be the most popular app ever.

Though there are several sites that provide Bible apps and faith apps for the iPhone, there isn’t an iAm app. And I don’t have God’s cell phone number to call or text him. I don’t know his email address. I’m skeptical that any of the Facebook pages called “God” are actually the Almighty Himself posting status updates, playing Farmville and waiting for the prayer requests to come pouring in.

You know what I realized, though? We don’t have an iAm app simply because we don’t need one. We can pray to God whenever we want. It’s perfectly legal to pray while we’re driving (just keep those eyes open and on the road). We can connect to God even in the middle of nowhere with no Wi-Fi or satellite or cell tower anywhere nearby. You don’t have to turn off your prayers when you go in to the hospital or a movie theater or the doctor’s office. And pastors love prayer during church, unlike that one cell phone that always seems to echo through the sanctuary at the critical moment of the sermon.

So, it’s easy enough to send our prayers to God. Hearing the answers to our prayers, though? Now that can be hard. And waiting to hear the answer can be even more difficult. But God is using that time to develop each of us into the unique person He has planned all along. He’s teaching patience and trust. He’s honing our relationship with Him to develop our ears to hear Him and to know when He’s giving us an answer.

There’s nothing that will hurry that precious growing time along. And no, there’s not an app for that.

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