Jesus does not play fair.
I’m not bitter mind you—just stating facts.
The Buttering Up Phase
First, He shows up and hangs around, looking good, not saying much. Pretty soon, you get accustom to having Him there so you engage in a little conversation. It usually goes something like this:
You’re hanging around an awful lot.
You want something, don’t You?
No, just enjoying this nice comfy couch.
That couch died ten years ago. Even deity can’t be comfortable on that thing.
(bounces a little) Mighty nice… you could sit next to Me if you want.
I’m good over here.
Missing a real treat (bounce, bounce, grin)
At which point, Jesus gets ignored for the rest of the evening.
This goes on for some time until finally one night, He doesn’t show. You refold the towels a dozen times, scrub the sink until the porcelain flakes off, then head over to the couch to pout.
And BAM! there He is.
You missed me.
Maybe a little.
Want a hug?
Now hugging takes getting use to. You’re not accustomed to His touch, you’re still half expecting Him to bring up that weekend in Aruba or ask you to go off and be a missionary in some country without indoor plumbing.
So He waits.
What you can’t see is Him rubbing His hands in glee behind your back, or front, or something because you are this close to being right where He wants you.
Want to hug me again tonight?
What I’m here for. I was thinking we might throw in a little something extra.
Oh my! What was that.
Unconditional love. Haven’t felt that before, have you?
How about a little peace? Maybe a touch of joy?
By this time, you are slobbering over with all sorts of good feelings.
The Set Up
(Shows up thirty minutes later than usual)
Where have You been? I’m dying over here.
You’re not dying, you just love Me. (Commences loving-up maneuvers)
Hmmm… You’re right, I love You.
Feels nice doesn’t it? Haven’t had much peace these last fifteen years.
Not much joy either.
Not much. (drool)
I can do something about that, you know.
How about you let me handle things from now on?
At this point, you are toast. Go ahead and sign over the farm Louise, you are a goner.
The Trap is Sprung
Only Jesus doesn’t just take it all right then, He drags things out awhile. One night, He shows up and the conversation goes something like this:
You know how much I love you, right?
Hmmmm… I love you too.
And if I asked for something, you’d give it to Me, wouldn’t you?
Anything at all, You can have everything.
How about that box over there?
What box? I don’t have any boxes.
That raggedy old box in the corner. I’m needing me a box for manna and stuff.
(raises head, looks around, can’t see straight.)
(love, love, love)
Anything—You can have all my boxes. (slobber, drool)
Sure about that?
(secret grin over head)
You want anything else? I could crawl over broken glass or something.
No, I’m good.
How about some flagellation? Whip my back raw, just for You…
(whispers) You wish you were getting off so easy…
And that, my friends, is how you get hit by the Jesus Bus and lose your box in the process. Because the next thing that happens, the very next thing, He shows up and you don’t get a hug and He’s got your box on His lap.
Hey! You’ve got my box!
No, actually this is my box.
Looks like mine.
You gave it to me, remember?
(runs hands over box, rattles lid a few times) You gave it to me last night.
I wasn’t in my right mind.
Looked okay to me. Sounded fine too. A little slobbery maybe but given the circumstances…
I want it back.
No takebacks. Besides, I like it.
This is so not fair.
You love Me remember?
I’m pretty sure You cheated.
It’s mine now and once I get it all cleaned up, I’ll fill it with all sorts of nice things. For now, you’re going to have to trust me.
Now come on over here and we’ll look inside together.
I can’t give you peace from that far across the room.
You can, You just won’t.
(wiggles eyebrows, pats couch, looks cute)
But here’s the thing. The woman learns she can trust Him. Yes it hurts but she doesn’t die which is what she secretly suspected. He doesn’t take everything out all at once and He doesn’t smush her face in the refuse.
Sometimes He shows up without the box and talks about world peace. Sometimes He shows up with the box and leaves it sitting in the corner. He asks her what she remembers, takes her heart all gentle-like in His big hands and heals all the broken places. Sometimes, He opens it just a crack—and shows her that He was right there, all the time.
He gives her back her smile and her feelings and her tears and her sense of humor.
He redeems her box.
And now, twenty years later, the box is finally empty.
Not sure what He’s using it for.
Maybe I should ask tonight.