The Right Religion

Author and speaker Tony Campolo tells the story about a woman who travels to a prison to sing gospel music. At one point in between songs, she talks about getting a crack in her windshield on the drive there. She says she pulled over, got out of the car, laid her hands on the crack, and prayed. “And would you believe that God then fixed my windshield?” And in unison, all the inmates yelled, “No!”

The point of the story is that people who are in far worse situations don’t care much about cracked windshields. And as a result of those experiences, they don’t think God cares much about such things, either.

And yet so many people persist in trying to apply their faith to the most mundane inconveniences, as if God is most concerned about a snag in our pants or for a traffic light to stay green long enough for us to get through it.

To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cracked windshield is just a cracked windshield.

God does care about our disappointments and frustrations, but I’m not sure God is in the business of miraculously fixing them. Nevertheless, voicing them in prayer and seeking God’s presence as we endure them is something that can lead to growth, change, and strength.

Faith can be a friendly and trustworthy companion, and can help us move through difficult times, and I think that God even welcomes our complaints about the little things. And God will also be our companion through them, even if they won’t magically resolve.

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