Funny how you can hear people talking and just know that they are church-going folks because of the lingo they choose, the happy-happy chirpy tone of voice you often hear on Christian radio. I always smile knowing when a believer is behind me in the check-out line at the supermarket, but I often wonder just how deep that faith goes.
I’m not being judgmental, but I say this because I’ve talked to a good number of these sweet-natured chirpy Christians who hold many deep resentments and anger issues and feel uncomfortable speaking to their pastors about it. That’s why they come to us. We meet them in our Anger Management courses or Marriage Courses, or they just walk in searching for help. But they are “good Christians,” at least they all say they want to be. Some have been Sunday-school teachers who like to frequent strip clubs or get high on the weekends. Some admit to substance abuse to deal with stress, others suffer from debilitating depression. Some feel so unloved that they have affairs and are eaten up inside with guilt. They sing in the choir, lead the youth group, are members of the board, and somehow get caught up in online indecency, hateful texting, addictions, blame, guilt, fights, violence, pain.
So when I listen to the local Christian station and hear those slick DJs with their oily voices and forced smiles repeating their scripted clichés… “Sometimes God just wants us to rest on Him. He cares, and He listens, and that’s all that matters. Let’s get uplifted now with a great new song by Jeremy Camp…” I feel a bit nauseated.
All that matters is that He listens and cares? Aren’t we supposed to expect an answer? A real change? No… apparently as long as He listens, that’s the best we can hope for. So little is offered, and we are encouraged to celebrate the slightest hint of an answer because it’s unreasonable to expect anything more from God.
A lady called in to one of these stations with a “testimony” of how she had been crying on the anniversary of her mother’s death, and praying for God to send her mother a message in heaven that she still loved her. A few minutes later, her mother’s favorite song came on and she burst into tears, knowing without a doubt that God had sent the message and that her mother was responding through the song. Now, just how dead people can determine the song line-up of a radio station, I have no idea, but the DJ sure thought it was a great testimony of faith, love and family unity...
No mention that the song plays once an hour anyway. No one gave a thought to the bizarre concept of communicating with the dead, something on the same level as consulting mediums and doing witchcraft. No idea that heaven is so awesomely amazing, why would anyone in heaven even want to hear a message from us? (Remember King Saul and Samuel?) Not to mention that God is not a messenger boy who needs to tell anyone up there that we say, “Hi.” But as far as the DJ was concerned, it was a story worthy of an oily-voiced, “Praise God for your faith, ma’am, and for the love of family - we know that God still cares, and that’s all that matters,” then she made a slick transition to another hit song. Gotta keep those listeners pleased.
I know some people who would take offense at me saying that this was no miracle. Sorry, but I think that God deserves to be glorified for doing the impossible - healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and transforming lives just like He did 2000 years ago. He can comfort us in small ways, but why not expect more, especially when so much evil is contaminating Christian lives?
People want to find the Almighty God, they want to see miracles and need help desperately. But they are settling for fluff, for oily voices, for clichés and false comfort. No wonder believers are falling away like dry leaves when there is so little substance to the message Christians have today. If we don’t step up and show God’s power as real and tangible, no one else will. Our God is an awesome God, as the song goes. Where are the Christians who strive to reflect that in the world? … For those of us who claim His name as our own, that really is all that matters.