Author Martha Grace Reece once interviewed a woman who had sat in the front row of her church choir every Sunday for 30 years. Why do you go to church? What do you get out of it?
Her husband of 35 years had just died slowly and painfully. Horror stories pocked her memories of marriage and raising her children. She answered, “Church has always meant a lot to me because I knew that if things got really bad, I could tell someone about it.”
Reese asked if she had talked with anyone about anything bad. “No,” she answered.
“But I always knew that I could have.”
It’s ironic that so many of us think of a relationship with God is equivalent to keeping a generator in the storage closet in case the power goes out. At church we put on our Sunday smiles-lying to ourselves and to each other that life isn’t really a struggle much
of the time. We pretend that we’re doing just fine, thank you. We’re keeping our acts together. We don’t even need God’s blessing.
Who are we kidding?
The simplest way to describe our standing before God is that we are a flashlight without batteries. Apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we’re not going to make it through the challenges before us. Let alone draw out our next breath.
Becoming aware of that stark dependence is the first and most important step in experiencing spiritual vitality. And that means we don’t have to fake it with each other. After all, in the most important way possible, we’re all equal. We stand in equal need of God’s grace.
The fact that God is so able and willing to share it is the world’s best reason to smile.
Ron Naylor, Chaplain