Let’s start by admitting that we all pray more frequently during times of trouble. It stands to reason that our sincerest prayers will come when life’s worst is being thrown at us. But here’s a thought. Do you think that God ever gets tired of our bellyaching?
Think about it. How would you feel if you had a friend who only called when they needed something? What if you had to spend countless hours listening to this person whine about their unfair boss, or their health and financial concerns? As a friend, you may be genuinely concerned and want to help, but wouldn’t you be a teensy bit annoyed after a while? Negativity inevitably wears on everyone’s nerves.
Every Christian endeavors to have a close, intimate relationship with the Lord, but who says that that relationship has to be based on doom and gloom? Would YOU maintain a relationship with someone if all they did was grumble and ask for favors? God would consider you the annoying neighbor who makes you wish you’d moved miles away.
Look at the first two words of the Lord’s prayer. Our father. Our FATHER. That means that God wants us to have a parent/child relationship with him. To put that into context, I examined my relationship with my earthly father. As the saying goes, I’m a chip off the old block, and share a very close relationship with my dad. We are kindred spirits, and even my mother marvels at how similar my father and I are. The strongest connection that my dad and I share is our sense of humor. We love a good joke, no matter how wicked.
So, I decided to test my theory. Would God mind if I opted for a more informal relationship with Him? I began to joke with Him. I’m a perpetual smart aleck, so after each time I said something sarcastic or I mocked some poor, unsuspecting soul, I immediately glanced heavenward with feigned apprehension in anticipation of the proverbial bolt of lightning. It usually came in the form of coffee being spilled on my jeans or some other small annoyance. I concluded that God considered coffee stains sufficient punishment.
No healthy relationship can thrive if it’s built on fear. Look at your relationship with anyone with whom you share an intimate rapport and you’ll see what I mean. My relationships with my family, my boyfriend, and my inner circle are built on shared experiences. With my loved ones I share the good AND bad in my life. Pain is part of the human experience, and I believe that God wants us to share all aspects of our life with him. So, if we share our pain, it stands to reason that we should share our joy with Him as well.
I wouldn’t suggest telling the Lord jokes that begin with, “A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar”, but don’t hesitate to share a chuckle with him. If you trip while running up the stairs, laugh with God over your moment of clumsiness. If toothpaste squirts all over your favourite sweater, thank God for reminding you to pick up your dry cleaning. Putting life’s little annoyances into perspective is good for your mental health, but sharing them with God will bring a new intimacy to your relationship with Him. To joke with the Lord is not disrespectful. I respect my earthly father with an intensity that approaches reverence, but I’m certainly not above putting him in a headlock and planting a noisy kiss on his cheek. That playful affection is inspired by LOVE, and isn’t that what God wants from us? Don’t let your relationship with God be negative. We are urged to cast our burdens upon Him, but I don’t see the harm to opening our hearts to Him in good times as well. Offer Him thanks for the good and pray for His help with the bad.