Lord, Just Throw Me an Occasional Bone

A few years ago I heard Jack Sullivan ask Stokes (our former music leader) to include a few older, more traditional hymns in our worship service.  He asked it like this, "Hey Stokes, you need to throw us older folks a bone every so often."  We all knew exactly what Jack was asking and also knew that Jack wasn't doing it in a complaining or divisive manner ... Jack was unquestionably Stokes' biggest fan and supporter while he was here!  He was just expressing his desire to enjoy a small taste of what makes him most comfortable, what he longs for, what he desires, what gives him joy when it comes to worship music.

In a similar emotion yet maybe with different terminology don't we often ask God to do the same thing?  I'm not thinking of a music style here, but rather our consistent plea for God to "throw us a bone," give us a taste, give us a glimpse of His faithfulness and kindness in this broken world full of hurt, sadness, pain, suffering, disappointment, worry, hate, problems, frustration, iniquity, rebellion, failure, etc.  We often pause and wonder why God is silent, inactive, distant, etc.  We look around and see friends and family (as well as ourselves) suffering with illnesses like cancer, battling the overwhelming feelings of depression, dealing with unfaithful spouses, struggling with broken bodies that often need surgical repair, walking down the lonely path of old age,  devastated by the consequences of sinful choices, anxious over inadequate finances, wounded from painful relationships, angry about the direction of our nation, worried over children heading down a dangerous path, numbed by yet another rejection, enduring the dumb decisions of co-workers than negatively impact us, and the list goes on and on!  Why won't God do something?  Why doesn't He stop all this?  Why do I only experience disappointment and pain?  Why won't He just throw me a bone on occasion so I can be assured of His love for me?

We've all been in this place ... many of us more than once ... maybe some of us are there right now.  Is it really so wrong to ask God to give me a concrete reminder that He really does care and that He really is involved?  I don't think it's wrong at all to want that assurance.  It's a normal, and even healthy part of our relationship with God.  However, we do often err in demanding that He jump through a new hoop or do something spectacular to "prove" Himself to us.  I recently spoke with a father who had provided his son a car, was paying the insurance, gave him money each month for gas, but was dishonored by his son because he didn't agree to throw in extra money for his son to run a short errand in that car.  This isn't an indictment against teenage boys, rather it's an indictment against me ... and likely you! 

God has shown us His love in the most perfect, complete, and profound manner.  "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8)  In fact, the cross is the only true place we find that assurance.  (We can be healed of a disease - but we'll get sick again; etc).  If the cross isn't sufficient for us then we likely don't think we're really that bad of a sinner and we really do deserve only good things in life.  Or maybe deep down we think God should do more than "just" sacrifice His only Son who was completely innocent yet willingly took on the deadly wrath and curse that we deserved. 

Don't fret when you soon find yourself asking God again to "throw you a bone."  It's gonna happen to us all.  Just remember that this emotion is a reminder to again look to the cross to realize that He HAS done everything necessary to demonstrate His eternal love to you.

And here's a great side benefit ... when we do find our ultimate assurance and satisfaction in the finished work of Christ, we realize that God "throws us bones" all the time if we're willing to see them!  The beautiful weather (like today as I'm typing!), the new baby, the new grand-baby, the fact that surgery/medicine/treatment is even available, the taste of an incredible meal, that though my child may be in a tough situation he/she is still alive, the encouraging note you received from a friend, etc.  When we're satisfied in the person and work of Jesus Christ our perspective on everything changes!  So today, instead of demanding that God do something to prove Himself to you, rest in the cross of Christ and begin to see and give thanks for the many other glimpses, tastes, and "bones" that God gives you each and every day.