There’s an old joke:
Jesus, Moses and an old man were teeing off on the 16th hole on heaven's golf course.
The 16th hole is a short par 3 over a lake. Moses is the first to tee off; he steps up and swings, and the ball dives right for the water.
He quickly spreads his arms, the water parts, and the ball rolls across the bottom of the lake and up on to the green.
The others complement him on his shot, and Jesus steps up for his turn.
Like Moses, Jesus' ball heads straight for the water, but when it gets there, it bounces and then rolls across the surface of the lake, until it, too, rolls up onto the green.
After showering him with complements, the old man steps up to take his shot. His ball also dives for the lake, but it bounces off the back of a turtle in the lake, and onto the far shore. There, a squirrel picks up the ball and quickly heads for the woods.
As the others begin to laugh, a hawk swoops down and picks up the squirrel. The hawk flies over the green, the squirrel struggles and the ball falls out of the squirrels mouth, bounces once on the green, and then drops neatly into the cup.
Jesus turns to the old man with a smile and says, "Nice shot Dad!"
That’s actually one of my favorite jokes ever, largely because it is a good illustration of how God works: spectacular detail, looking for all the world like happenstance, coincidence. Yet all the time, he’s working behind the scenes, holding all things together by the power of his Word.
OK. Hold that in your mind.
OK. Hold that in your mind.
Now reflect for a moment on one of the current trends in marriage proposals: The flashmob proposal. I’m afraid that I think they’re rather cheesy, but these guys didn’t consult me before they did the deed, so I suppose my opinion doesn’t count much. Here’s one example:
It has made me think. Like the golf joke, these proposals demonstrate something of the way the God does things: careful attention to a lot of details in order to spectacularly demonstrate love, to draw the beloved’s attention to the guy on his knee, and to invite that beloved lady into a lifetime love relationship. They’re maybe a little more direct than God is, after all, they need to be able to edit it down for an effective YouTube post; God has a lifetime to work out his proposal.
Sure, taking a lifetime to woo us is more complicated, but being omniscient, he can handle that; he’s pretty big, you know. What’s more challenging is the issue of free will. He’s committed to honoring free will: yours, certainly; but in addition, he works out his lifetime flashmob proposal to you in an environment of raging free wills, without abrogating a single person’s free will. (He doesn’t even – yet – hinder demonic free will, a fact which is highly inconvenient, actually.)
So the circumstances of our lives are arranged for the purpose of demonstrating – of spectacularly demonstrating – his love for us, of drawing our attention to the guy on his knee (his amazing Son), and of inviting us, his beloved, into a lifetime – an eternity-time of love relationship.
So for me, amazing golf shots aside, I think I’m learning to recognize his fingerprints in the circumstances of my life, displaying his love, drawing my attention to his son, and inviting me into an eternity of love relationship with an amazing lover.
And I guess I’m probably going to be reminded of God’s amazing courtship every time I see another cheesy flashmob proposal video. God is, fortunately, not so cheesy, but every bit as much the romantic.
[Editor's note: If you can't see the video, click on the title of the post ("God's Heart, In Golf Jokes and Flashmobs") and view it on the webpage. Thanks!]