As I was tucking Emma (age 5) in bed the other night, out popped a question as random as the sky is blue.
"Mommy, what's the most important part of a car? Air conditioning?"
After we all finished giggling I tried to help her answer her own question. "Well, let's see. Would you rather have a steering wheel ... or air conditioning? Would you rather have tires ... or air conditioning?"
We pretty quickly realized that air conditioning may well be the least important part of a car (unless you're in North Carolina in July, in which case you might die without it).
That started me thinking about just how much we approach God with all the wrong priorities. What is the spiritual equivalent of air conditioning? The style of music on Sunday morning? Being healthy or happy? When we ask God to help us, do we have in mind the amenities? Are we concerned with upholstery or a fresh coat of wax or are we changing the oil and giving the engine a tune-up?
Lord, check my emissions. I've been belching a bad attitude this week and it's clouding the air so my children can hardly breathe. Lord, adjust my steering wheel and rotate my tires. I've been veering in other directions when I needed to run straight to you. Lord, refill my engine coolant. I've been impatient and quick to lose my temper. Lord, refill my gas tank. I've been running on fumes. Lord, check my brakes. I've been squealing out complaints whenever you ask me to stop doing what I want to do and attend to others. Lord, change my oil. I've been sluggish about doing what needs to be done.
Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, LORD;
come quickly, LORD, to help me.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
air conditioning and other non-negotiables
Dr. Carmen Imes is the Associate Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta, and serves the broader church through teaching, speaking, and writing. She earned a PhD in Biblical Theology (Old Testament) from Wheaton College under Dr. Daniel Block, an MA in Biblical Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a BA in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. She and her husband, Danny, served as missionaries with SIM 15 years. They have three children: Ana, Emma, and Easton.