A few days ago, I flipped on the radio and heard a guy say, “Death and religion rarely stick when the person gets better.” Then he chuckled.
I had never heard that saying before, but apparently it’s been around for a while. I didn’t think it was all that funny, but I can see why he laughed.
“People only need God when they’re in trouble.”
Coincidentally, I read an article around the same time written by an atheist. He was noting that things were bad, and a lot of people were starting to lean on God. His premise was that people only need God when they’re in trouble. Once the trouble subsides, they don’t need a deity anymore so they jettison him.
The article (and the earlier saying) irritated me a bit. However, I have to admit it’s true to a certain extent. There definitely are people like that.
When I was a rookie pastor, I remember visiting an elderly gentleman in the hospital. His name was George. George’s wife was a staunch attendee at our weekly worship services. He, on the other hand, never darkened the doors. When I walked into his hospital room, he began to cry. He proclaimed to me that he needed to get back to church. I agreed with him, prayed for him, and left.
He got better, left the hospital, and I never saw him again until he ended up back in sickbay. I went to see him again, and the scene was repeated. He cried, said he needed to get back to church, and we prayed. Once again, he got better but never showed up for worship. Interestingly enough, he only lived a short distance from the church building. His wife walked it every Sunday.
To top it all off, the next time George ended up in the hospital, I was unaware that he had been admitted. A neighboring pastor friend of mine happened to be at the hospital, noticed he was listed as a patient, and stopped in to see him. The pastor later related his visit with George to me. You guessed it. The whole scene was repeated again.
“I’m never sure how to take people like that.”
Whenever George was in trouble, he got scared and called on the Lord. Once his distress was gone, he didn’t have time for God anymore. I guess the guy on the radio was right—at least in George’s case. Death and religion rarely stick when the person gets better.
I must admit that I’m never sure how to take people like that. I don’t really know how to describe them, and I’m not exactly sure how to minister to them. They’re an enigma to me. I guess it’s because of my own experience. Once I discovered my need for the Lord, I was all in.
When all is said and done, whether I can understand them or not doesn’t matter. I’ll do what I can to help. I feel a little badly, though, when people cry at the sight of me.