July 2, 2006
A woman had heard that one of her favorite TV personalities was making a rare personal appearance at her neighborhood mall and she was determined to see him. But when she arrived at the mall, she realized that several hundred other people had a similar idea. There was no place to park. For twenty minutes she drove her car around the mall looking for a place without success. Finally, in desperation, she raised her eyes to heaven and said: “Lord, help me. If you provide a parking space for me, I promise I will put $300 in the collection next Sunday. When she turned into the next row, there, miraculously, was an empty space. She raised her eyes to heaven again and said: “Never mind, I found one.”
When we are desperate, we turn to the Lord. But it is clear that for most of us we would rather handle things ourselves. When we have no other options, when we have painted ourselves into a corner, when we are at our wits end, we cry out to the Lord to help us. But when things are running smoothly, when our finances and our relationships are healthy and productive, we congratulate ourselves on how our earnest efforts and wise decisions have led to our success.
Now, do not misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with turning to the Lord when we are desperate. People in crisis continually approached Jesus throughout his public ministry. In today’s gospel both Jairus, the synagogue leader, and the woman with the hemorrhage come to Jesus because they had no place else to turn. Jesus acts quickly and decisively to assist them. We should never feel embarrassed or apologetic about coming to the Lord in a time of need. We should never hesitate to cry out to the Lord when we find our self in a crisis. In faith we believe that God will hear us and will act. But what a waste it is to wait until we are in crisis. What a waste it is to wait until we are desperate before we turn to the Lord. It is a waste because it is not what God wants. It is a waste because it is not what we need.
Now without a doubt God is our savior, our helper, and our healer. But God wants to be more to us than that. God has revealed God’s self as father, as mother, as lover, as friend. Why God loves us so, is a mystery, but that God loves us so, is the gospel. So we diminish our relationship with God when we approach God simply as a problem solver. We ignore what God wants when we approach God only as the “Mr. Fix-it” for our lives. It is a waste for us to approach God only as the healer of our ills. God wants more! God wants to share life with us. God wants our love. Approaching God only as a savior is not what God wants.
Neither is it what we need. How much richer our lives would be if we turned to God not only when we were desperate but every day of our lives. How much wealth and joy would we have in our lives if we turned to God not only when things were in crisis but when things were running smoothly and blessings were over flowing. If we could begin each day remembering God’s love, if we could be conscious of God’s presence as we face each event and each person, how much deeper, more thankful, more joyful our lives would be. That kind of living is exactly what we need. Therefore it is a waste when we only turn to God in crisis.
So if you are in dire need, if you are at your wit’s end, if you cannot find a parking place, then by all means call out to God for help. To believe that God will hear and help you is central to the gospel. But do not wait until you are in crisis before you turn to God. Take God with you to every moment of every day. God is loving you now. Claim that love today. That is what God wants. That is what we need.