Jack and I have really enjoyed watching Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip on Netflix the past couple of months. I cannot believe it only got one season…! I would love to find out why it was cancelled. It was a show that spoke very bluntly of the public opinion (at least in Hollywood) of politics, the war in the Middle East (or the part of it we are involved in, anyway), and Christianity. The main characters were people who produced and acted in a Friday night comedy show, like SNL, and one girl, Harriet Hayes, was a born-again believer.
In the last episode of the season, she and her friend were in the hospital waiting room. Her friend had just found out that his fiance was in bad shape and may not recover, and Harriet says, “Okay, it’s your choice. I can do my Holly Hunter impression or I can teach you how to pray.” Her friend says, “Let’s find the chapel.”
She’s on her knees and welcomes him to join her, and he goes off in a tirade that went something like this: “If I was God, I would not need people to bow down to Me. I mean, if I really did what I said I did, make the whole earth and everything in it and have total control, then why do I need someone stroking my pride? This is ridiculous. God shouldn’t need me on my knees for me to pray.” She said, “Kneeling is not for God’s sake, its for yours. We have everything in this life handed to us–wealth, fame, whatever–and the only thing not handed to us is humility. We bow to remind ourselves who He is and who we are.” He, unfortunately, stormed out. But she was right, wasn’t she?
Psalm 104:24-30 says, “How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures…These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”
Believing that I am on the receiving end so much, if not all, of the time is humbling. Knowing that no plans I make can be held together by my own power is humbling, even the best and godliest of plans. Like a baby, we must stay less than an arm’s length from our Creator whether we realize it or not, and whether we like it or not, and that’s humbling. We like to be in control and be responsible, and we certainly have to obey and do “our part” but we are so out of line when we begin to think that “our part” is the real work of God. The real work of ministry. The real work of relationships. We obey and we don’t take pride in it, and we certainly don’t get impressed with ourselves, because that would simply be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? Just like I can plant a seed in the ground and take the time to water it, I realize even in me doing my part that I had no power to make it grow. I am not the soil, the nutrients in that water, the sun; I am just doing my tiny part. And so it is.
Why can’t we have a relationship with God that doesn’t require kneeling–the kneeling of our hearts if not our bodies as well? Because a relationship with God doesn’t come as a partnership…”let’s join our resources, God! We’ll make a great team, God!” It doesn’t come by thinking we are His equals and looking Him in the eye and asking Him to do His part, while we can confidently hold up our end of the bargain. Oh, my. If we think we can hold up our end of the bargain, any bargain at all, pride has finally reached the surface. We are dependent on Him even for our part.