My mother loved this phrase. Increasingly I think of it when I observe how people generally handle the whole God-thing.
People often feel as if everything about life with God is up to them, and that being a believer is hard work. If they don’t do everything just right, God won’t bless; if they don’t believe enough, he won’t be real; if they work hard to follow the rules of being a Christian (church attendance, giving, praying, Bible study) then God might answer a prayer, might smile on them, might even love them.
This reminds me of a variety act I saw as a girl on the Ed Sullivan Show, the guy who would spin plates on top of several different poles, with much frantic effort. Each time one would begin to lose its spin and threaten to fall, he’d run back to it and give it a huge twist, get it going, then run to another one, etc, etc. It all worked only if HE kept it going.
I see people trying to handle God and being a Christian like this. They have to work up the faith to believe in God and then keep propping up that faith and reconvincing themselves that he is real. It’s all up to them, to keep working up thankfulness. The God I know doesn’t need propping up, doesn’t need any help. All he asks is that we come to him like the helpless children we are, and let him show his good stuff.
God never asks us to work hard, he asks us to bring our weary souls to come rest with him. He doesn’t want us to conjure him up in our minds and convince ourselves he is real, he wants to REVEAL himself to us. Altogether he offers to hold us up, not the other way around!
Worship IS hard work when there’s no genuine adoration in your heart. Thanksgiving seems fake when you aren’t aware of something to be thankful for. You can’t adore what you do not know. Prayer IS a chore when you’re talking to empty space. God never meant it to be like this, for you to talk yourself into it, and make it all up. He meant for sincere worship and thanksgiving to arise as a spontaneous joy from a heart that encountered the joy-giver.
Yes, it begins with believing someone is really there — but when you come, come to rest, come in your weakness, come in your neediness. Cease striving and come rest in all of your humanness before this mighty lover of your soul, and simply say, “I want to know you, and I don’t know how. Please reveal yourself to me. Give me eyes to see you and ears to hear you.” And when he does, everything else will become a natural RESPONSE to this wonderful, invisible, everpresent Creator God.
Please, please, don’t do Christianity upside down and backwards!