There is a game show on NBC called Deal or No Deal. I have only watched the show in passing but the concept did generate a little spiritual musing. Let’s suppose that some thirty-eight years ago Jesus had come to me in person and offered the following deal.
Jesus: “So here is My deal for you. I will forgive you of your sins and relieve you of the guilt and fear that burdens you. I will give you the assurance of eternity spent with me. I will be there throughout your life to teach, console, strengthen and bless you. Just ask me and accept my gift of grace and I will provide all of that.”
Me: “Wow.” (I wasn’t much of a wordsmith at sixteen)
Jesus: “By the way, I know that your relationship with me will lead you to a beautiful and Godly woman who will be the love of your life and who will help you become the person you want to become. You will have three wonderful sons who will all grow up to be Godly men. You will have troubles and some tragedy but I will help you through every step of the way and I will use those trials for good in your life and the lives of others. So Dave, will you accept the deal?”
Me: “Is this a joke? Sure I will.”
It just seems too good to be true. But it has been true in my life. If you read When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and these humble ramblings you know that Joni and I have not lived a life free of heartache. But despite some difficult times it is a deal I would agree to accept even more quickly now.
But let’s add a layer of complexity to my imagined time with Christ. When He asks if I will accept His deal I have a question.
Me: “That sounds a little too good to be true. I have done nothing and you are offering all of this for me. Don’t I have to do anything?”
Jesus smiles and says, “Well, there a couple of things.”
“Ah hah!” I reply smugly. “I knew it was too good. What’s the catch?”
I picture Jesus looking at me with that gentle hint of a smile and saying, “You need to trust my character and receive my love.”
“That’s it?” I ask incredulously.
“You will give me all of those things and that is all you want in return?”
He nods again and speaks. “It won’t be easy. You will be hurt. There will be some people that will be tough to love. As we walk together I will ask you to drop your masks and be honest about yourself. I will ask you to forgive, be patient and love one another.”
I consider His words. “For all that you have done for me that would seem to be the least I can do.”
I picture Him looking at me with a pensive and almost sad expression. “You would think my son. You would think.”