I was watching one of those popular, morning news shows early today. As always, they went outside for the weather segment. That part of the program is the time when all the out-of-towners gather around to get their mugs on TV and yell “Hello” to the folks back home.
That day was no exception. All the rabid glory-seekers were crowding around the host to get their five seconds of fame. The host yelled out this question to the throng: “Any birthdays or anniversaries today?”
The Weather Gal
One older couple was standing there (seemingly much more sedate than the rest of the crowd). They raised their hands in response to the question. They were celebrating a wedding anniversary. The weather gal asked them how long they had been married, to which they responded, “Forty-four years…” She then followed up by asking the secret to their longevity. The husband quickly answered, “Saying ‘Yes’ to her…”
As I listened for his answer, he almost literally took the words out of my mouth. I often kid young married men that the secret to a successful marriage is for the husband to learn two simple words—“Yes, Dear….” While I say that as a joke, there’s quite a bit of truth in that humorous statement.
I suspect a lot of marriages fall apart because people feel the need to have their own way much of the time. We often tend to be stubborn in our ways—even when we’re wrong. The inability (or outright refusal) to say, “Yes,” is probably our downfall more often than we’d care to admit. How many relationships are destroyed by our failure to offer a positive response or to even change our attitude to a more affirmative one?
“I yam what I yam”
That, of course, is the main problem. Attitudinal changes don’t come easily. As Popeye used to say, “I yam what I yam.” We are who we are, and we’re not interested in altering our persona to please someone else. We see a big danger in that. We don’t want to lose who we are in the process.
This innate self-protection might be the key to our disobedience to the Almighty as well. We are no more apt to say yes to him as we are to a spouse, friend, or co-worker. In fact, we might be even more prone to ignoring the word of God as it prods us into an act of obedience. After all, he doesn’t seem to insert himself into our lives the way human beings do.
The real problem, then, becomes our ineptitude in making proper choices for ourselves. When we say, “No” to God (or ignore Scripture altogether), we’re refuting the very one who has our best interests at heart. Not only that, the Lord is the one with enough knowledge, wisdom, and experience to point us in a direction that will best benefit our lives. Failing to say, “Yes, Lord,” just isn’t very smart.
Still, we say, “No,” way too often. Getting to yes is a worthwhile endeavor.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]