You’ve probably heard the theoretical scenario offered by many a macho boyfriend, beleaguered husband or bitter ex. You know the one: “Lock your dog and your wife in the trunk and see which one is happiest to see you when you let them out.” Now, I would never condone locking either in your trunk, except in rare cases of saving ticket money by sneaking loved ones into a drive-in movie.
Of course, the riddle answer is obvious: The wife slaps your face before calling the cops; the dog licks your face after leaping into your arms.
So all things being equal (whatever that means), if Christians love God anything like we claim, shouldn’t we — even after terribly unfair circumstances — be wagging our tails at the mere prospect of time spent with him? I can’t remember the last time I drooled shamelessly when I “dutifully” opened my Bible before rushing off to what seems far more important.
Borrowing from the dog’s sterling loyalty reputation, I used a similar analogy at Celebrate Recovery (sort of a God-based AA program) about 10 years ago. Amid the usual God namedropping and clichés, I confessed my frequent choice of favorite vices over God fellowship.
I raved about my dogs and how they nearly claw through the door after hearing my memorized engine sound, and then the doorknob moving. They aren’t bemoaning interrupted naps or lusting after food ... they’re simply overjoyed their entire world was about to enter the picture.
I asked, “So why aren’t we even close to that eager to spend time with Jesus whenever possible?” I mean, if I understand the Bible correctly, there is an almighty, all-knowing God who loves us immensely, created us and everything we see, and promises an eternal home with joy unspeakable and full of glory. In exchange for commitment and devotion, he offers countless blessings, joy and peace — and here I am growling at slow drivers on my way to the golf course.
So what’s your ratio of work/sports/media/status/possessions, versus quality God time? Mine is astronomically tilted toward the former and I don’t understand why. Via my own lukewarm faith and a perceived observation of it in others, I’m not so sure a majority of American Christians are truly convinced of a personally-involved creator and an impending judgment day. Maybe it’s more, “I better cover all bases, just in case.”
More and more I’m inclined to believe the huge majority of truly-committed, American Christians are in Godless countries like North Korea, smuggling Bibles and facing torture every day lest they denounce Christ. Many are singing hymns in their tiny, cold cells, while we’re humming favorite old songs and checking social media from our vibrating recliners.
When God frequently speaks to them, it’s nearly impossible for them not to hear it; loud, surround sound TVs makes it far more difficult for us. I bet the dominating conversation topic among persecuted disciples is always God and Bible-related. In casual, jovial interaction among me and my cohorts, God seems to be mentioned only in passing. Are we merely shallow reflections of education passed along from praying mothers and Sunday school teachers decades ago?
In a society where Christianity is almost trendy, are we building “houses built on sand,” ignoring dire warnings of the approaching, ultimate hurricane all around us? Is “I’ll be praying for you” mostly a cliché spoken with little follow-up? Do you do a hurried morning devotional, say a quick prayer and rush off to where the action is? I mean, why spend a lot of time with the creator of all beauty and embodiment of pure love when a fraction of his handiwork awaits?
Sunday is pretty much the designated worship day around these parts, and a televised Steelers (or Broncos in your case) game can derail even that. “Judge not, lest you be judged?” Well, I’m judging myself and I don’t like where all the evidence seems to be pointing. But at least for now, the jury is still out.
Which brings us to the question: If you locked Jesus in the trunk of your car, would he be happy to see you when you let him out? Duh! Isn’t he every time?