I was taught that all I needed to do is ask to be forgiven and God will pardon my sins. I must be honest, though, and admit, I’m also hoping God has a good sense of humor.
As I reflect on the past, it appears to me that God is probably whatever we as individuals need. For me, the use of humor and especially irony, seem to be tools he has used on numerous occasions to lead me to where I needed to be.
I was very fortunate because I grew up with a father who taught and preached that God is love. He didn’t beat you over the head with the threat of “do this, or go to hell!” Instead he told you of this wonderous person that went by the name of Christ. He gave witness to everyone around him about the warmth and love he gained in following Christ.
Daddy told me one time that he wasn’t so sure about the concept of hell. He was, however, sure of the love he felt by letting God lead him. He said that maybe hell was actually the absence of love. Instead of the usual picture of a fiery cauldron, it might be stark, cold, and infinitely lonely. He said that God is like a warm campfire in the middle of a cold and empty expanse. As you get closer, you feel the warmth of his love and can see more clearly by the light of the fire. His love envelops you like a warm quilt that wraps you and imparts a feeling of security.
He also knew that surely God had a good sense of humor. He knew that he wasn’t perfect by any measure, but knew that God would overlook those faults merely by him asking. The only person I ever heard my dad make fun of was himself. He did it often and in front of everyone. His message many times was that in spite of all his failings, he knew that God had a sense of humor and didn’t care about his failings. All Daddy had to do was ask forgiveness and follow where God led him. Many times the humor in his stories made fun of himself to illustrate how, being human, he continued to forget to follow. Sometimes he would argue with God about the path he had lit for him and , again, forgotten to follow. The result he would be that he endured grief and anxiety. In the end he realized that if he kept his faith that God was there, he would have been spared the pain. On the other hand if pain was unavoidable, he would have realized that someone was holding his hand and was with him as he endured.
In my own life I have felt those times when I argued with God in my heart, only to be shown later that if I had relied on my faith, I might have avoided some of the pain. As I said before, I am pretty sure God has a sense of humor and that this helps him to understand my actions, but more importantly, he uses it to teach.
In growing up listening to Dad preach and talk about his own weakness and failings, I came to know that admitting my failings, whether through humor or otherwise, was a key part of asking forgiveness.
Sometimes, he even throws in a little irony. He uses irony like a punctuation mark in a sentence or a kick in the rear. It helps to get your attention and express the point being made.
Earlier today, I had finished a long meeting and decided to take a break. It was Friday after all. So I got in my truck and pulled out of the driveway. Today has been sunny and warm. A nice day to be out and about. I had decided to go to the local Sonic drive-in and get a Diet Coke. It was happy hour so the drink would be half priced. I couldn’t resist.
As I approached the intersection with the main street through Abilene, I saw an older model car turn the corner off the main street and head toward me. As the turn was made, the driver managed to drive over the curb with both wheels on the passenger side of the car. It hit so hard that I could see the driver bounce up and down.
For some reason this tickled me and I began to laugh at the knucklehead who was driving the car. As the car went past me, I saw that it was a little old gray haired lady. She acted so nonchalant about it. I thought she must do that all the time.
At that point I thought I was better because I was younger and a better driver. She was obviously a menace to the driving public. I was lucky she didn’t hit me. I was so superior!
Then…. just as her car passed me and I pulled up to the same corner………….it happened………..BAM…………..BAM……..Oh NOOOOOOOOO!!!!……
I was so intent on watching that menace to the driving public that I didn’t pay attention. I drove up and over the curb with both wheels on the passenger side of my truck. I went up on the curb so far that I nearly struck the steel post of the stop sign. I felt the sudden rush of embarrassment as I bounced up and down in the truck and finally ended up back in the busy street with all 4 wheels.
I think God was laughing at me as I came to a stop……..Then he turned to Daddy and said “I thought you told me his driving would improve if I just got him past his teenage years.”