Small town reminders
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If you ask most comedians where they get their jokes, most will respond that they just go through their lives minding their own business when something that is unforgettable crosses their paths and they start writing jokes about it. The same is true about this devotional. The truth of the matter is, Iíve tried to avoid writing this particular devotional, but I keep getting caught behind it in traffic, so here goes.
Before I go any further, I need to explain something. I donít know the person who inspired this specific devotional. Although the image Iím using is stuck firmly in my head, I donít know the circumstances behind how it happened, so this is not a reflection or judgment of that person. All I know is the image I have in my mind.
Small towns sometimes have unusual sights in them. You can measure how small a town is by how weird these sights are to see. If youíre from a small town these sights will seem normal to you. Youíll need a person from a bigger town to point them out. For instance, have you ever lived in a town that has a guns and ammo shop next to a low cost prescription store with a plastic statue of Jesus out in front? I have. But the strangeness doesnít end there, which, brings me to my subject. In the town I live in there is a woman who drives a car that has a bumper sticker on it that says ďLet go and Let GodĒ. On the surface, there is nothing strange about that combination-- until you look at the car. It doesnít take long to figure out that this car has been through a lot. Half of the back bumper is missing. In addition, the back window is busted out and a clear plastic garbage bag takes its place. If that wasnít enough, the windshield looks like a rock fell on it and left a nice big crack where it landed.
The first time I saw the car I couldnít help but laugh at the irony. It wasnít the best ringing endorsement of Christianity to see that bumper sticker on that car. But as Iíve seen the car over and over again, Iíve started wondering if my life is a little bit like that car. When I first became a Christian no one told me Iíd have to work at it. In fact, if I remember correctly, the first time I was introduced to Jesus (and I took it seriously), I was told that Jesus wanted my life and if I gave it to Him, Iíd never have to worry about Hell. I thought that was it. So if my life was a wreck or falling apart, I didnít have to do anything because God was in control. It wasnít until a year later that I learned God not only wanted my life, He wanted a relationship with me. Like all good relationships, they take work. In order to cultivate a relationship with God a lot of communication through prayer and reading His word needs to take place. I donít think ďletting go and letting GodĒ means throwing our hands up in the air and relaxing while God does all the work. I think that might be part of our commitment to Him, but Iím not sure thatís all of it. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 we read about a race. We also learn about runners. The Bible says that runners practice strict self control and have to dedicate themselves to training for the race they are running. A runnerís position in the race is determined by the amount of training they did. The same is true of our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is dependant on how much work we put into it. God will always be present, but our ability to enjoy his presence depends on what we are willing to do to get closer to Him.
Relationships take work and most of the time Iím not very good at them. My life looks like that car far more often than it looks like a brand new car off the lot. I think sometimes we expect God to repair us when we get that broken, but in order for us to look new, we have to be willing to give ourselves over to someone who knows how to repair us. That requires sacrifice. For instance, letís go back to the original illustration of the car with the bumper sticker on it. Letís say the person driving the car wants to get the car repaired and has saved enough money to make the necessary repairs. The car wonít be able to repair itself until the person with the money is willing to sacrifice it to get the car fixed. The same is true of our relationship with God. Until we can admit we are broken and we need fixing and turn to God to fix us, we will live our lives like that car.
Itís strange seeing things that are incongruent but all I can think about while Iím writing this is thank God for broken down battered cars with ironic bumper stickers that remind me I have work to do. Thank God for reminding me what it takes to ďLet God and Let God.Ē
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