Sometimes stories unexpectedly stick with you.
I can’t remember where I heard this story, nor can I recall exactly how it was used. Nonetheless, its message comes to mind occasionally to challenge me. The story goes something like this.
A young couple, recently married, was nearly inseparable. Whenever the husband or the wife had to go somewhere, they went together. People began to recognize them as they drove through town because they sat right next to each other in their old pickup truck, the husband in the driver seat and the wife in the middle seat beside him. Folks in their area thought they seemed more in love than any couple in the movies.
As they grew older, the excitement of their early days seemed to fade. They still spoke of each other as if they were deeply in love, yet they no longer sat beside each other when they drove around town. Noticing this, the wife became bothered. She missed the way things used to be, and she wondered what caused them to move apart. Turning to her husband, the wife said, “Why don’t we sit next to each other anymore?”
The husband turned to look at her, but he didn’t speak. He knew she had more on her mind.
She continued, “I want to sit together like we used to do, arm in arm. I want to go back to the good old days with you. What would it take to get back there?”
The husband chuckled a bit at this, which seemed to upset the wife. She began to tear up as she accused him of not caring as much about their marriage as she did. She couldn’t believe he could laugh at such a serious matter. When he kept chuckling, however, she finally asked, “What’s so funny?”
“Darlin,” the husband said, “I never moved.”
The point of the story is simple enough: often, we believe God has grown distant when, in reality, we’ve drifted away from him. I can look back at the last few months and clearly see how I’ve cut back on the time I should be devoting to the Lord. I’ve slept in when I could have been praying, skimmed when I should have been studying. I can talk a big game without ever making a play. In such times, this story comes to mind, convicting me for praying for growth while avoiding my Lord.
This week, I want to be disciplined. I’ve slowly been growing more disciplined in some areas, but I need to extend that work ethic to my devotions. This week, I want to focus on working out my salvation as God works in me. I want to be a man after God’s own heart in action, not merely in word. In the end, I want to be found faithful.
Huge thanks to Katy Beith for her editing work on this post!