A friend gave me a marionette. It’s a fantastic, silly thing that is prone to cause giggles in my house.
But only when it is moving.
You see, often it just sits there, flat, unmoving, not being very funny. It’s only the interaction between us and it that causes the fits of laughter. That brings the joy.
Life with God is a bit like a marionette.
I could sit in the corner, and have nowt to do with God. That’s my choice. The choice God gives me.
But it’s the interaction with God, when I invite God into my life, surrender to God’s will on what we do, rather than demand my own way all the time, that’s when the joy Christians speak about comes. (“Joy to the World”, “Kingdom of God is one of Joy”, one of the “fruits of the spirit” is joy…you may not know, but we Christians talk about joy a lot.)
But it’s the moving what matters most.
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 NLT)
You see, in the moving, sometimes things get silly. Sometimes things are surprising. And sometimes the strings get tangled, and we have to spend some time untangling them a bit and starting again. That’s ok. It happens to us all. God helps us to try again, because the important thing is the moving.
Now, I must confess, we are not God’s marionettes. Genesis 1 and 2 tells us that God created us to carry God’s image on earth. God filled us with His breath giving us life, to care for God’s creation – earth, animals, each other – the whole lot. But He also created us to be playful, silly, and surprising. And we will make mistakes from time to time. God untangles us if we ask Him too – that’s part of Jesus’s joy.
But like a marionette, we weren’t created to sit in a box in a wardrobe or to gather dust on a shelf. We were created to interact with God and others. Life with God gives us life and empowers us to love, to dream, to hope, and, yes, to play.
If you’re feeling a bit dusty, talk to God. Ask God to dust you off and get you moving again!