So I take it to the Honda dealership and really only look for two things to happen: 1) I want the light to go off, and 2) I want a free car wash. “Free” is a relative term because it costs me $80 for them to do whatever they do, but the car wash is a nice touch and the real reason I go there.
As I pick up the car, there is a man in greasy overalls who tries to explain in great detail what they did to update my car. Something about belts and filters. I nod at the appropriate moments, act like it was a great thing they did whatever they did in time before whatever happened to it, but in my mind I hope they left the big pieces of paper on the floor mats because I can pretend that I just bought my car.
This is not a great way to treat an automobile, but the world seems to have enough mechanics that I can get away with it. And after all, the light comes on to tell me when I need take it back. For all I know, it’s connected to a remote control at the dealership and when business is bad they hit the button and in I come for my $80 car wash.
The real problem is when I treat my spiritual life the same way. I know something is wrong, but I don’t want the details of why I feel the way I do. I just want it fixed, with a clean and shiny soul at the end.
That is not the way that God deals with us. In Mark 10 is the story of blind Bartimeaus, who cried out to Jesus as he was passing by. Jesus calls him forward and asks a ridiculous question.
“What can I do for you?”
The people in the crowd must have looked at each other in shock. Can’t Jesus see he’s blind? His problem is obvious. Why not just heal him?
But God is not interested is showing his power, but his love. His question gave great dignity to Bartimeaus, and allowed him to participate in the moment of healing. It became something they did together, as opposed to a mechanical action Jesus did by default.
Reading the Gospels, Christ always looked for moments to connect with those He healed. When the woman who touched the hem of his garment was cured, He wanted to know who it was. He touched the leper before He healed him. He could have waved His hand from a distance, but Jesus wanted to be close, to be intimate.
He still does. The “check engine” light of my soul shows itself when I lose my temper, stop making time for prayer, become self-centered, or fall into my old patterns of sin. In my frustration, I just want God to fix me so I can get “back to work”. I cry his name, and He comes, with those piercing eyes, and asks, “What can I do for you?”
I’m impatient at the question. We’re wasting time. “You know what’s wrong,” I reply. “Can’t you make me better now?”
He smiles and looks at me with love. “Of course I know what’s wrong. The bigger question is... do you?”