Just keep on squeaking

Published 8:45 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

By Rev. Chris Surber

“Who bought the German Shepherd that plastic ice-cream cone squeaky toy?!”

That was my response when the hundred-pound security beast greeted me at the door wagging her tail and making a near constant loud “WEEE hoooo WEEE hoooo” sound with the very obnoxious squeak toy in her mouth.

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My wife explained that the 4-year-old is proud of the toy he bought the dog and asked if I could be nice about it. “Daddy! She loves her new toy!”

Truth be told, even the other German Shepherd seems to be annoyed by it. But little Hansel is so proud of himself. And the dog — well, the dog is even more proud of herself!

You know, I can’t help but think that some of the most joyful things that we can have or share are absolutely annoying to some other people. The sound of a loud motorcycle ripping down the street interrupting my conversation with a friend holds only aggravation for me, but for the tattooed and leather-clad man riding it, that sound and the feeling of tearing through the wind is pure joy.

I’m sure that to a lot of unbelievers the sounds of a well-meaning Christian joyfully and passionately sharing her faith sounds like so much squeaking and squawking.

I’m sure that to a lot of folks most of what this pastor preaches and writes sounds like so much claptrap and nonsense, unwelcomed squeaking.

For a serious follower of Jesus, sharing his faith is of such great joy that he can’t help himself. The human heart can contain the love of God about as well as a thimble can contain the ocean.

Sharing the joy of the love of God in Christ is the only possible response to possessing it. It’s too big to keep to oneself.

Of course some people are not going to understand that, but if you are a follower of Jesus you’ve got to just keep happily squeaking, sharing your joy with the world around you.

A few will celebrate with you, like Hansel enjoying his dog’s joy. Some people will act with indifference. Others will want to know who bought the squeaky toy for you. But you just keep right on squeaking.

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:14-15 NLT)

The world needs hope that transcends the human capacity to generate it, but much of the world doesn’t want it.

That’s OK. The job of the hopeful is to live differently, love infectiously, and just keep on squeaking.

The Rev. Chris Surber is the pastor of Liberty Spring Christian Church in Suffolk and co-founder, with his wife, of a ministry in Haiti. Email him at chris@chrissurber.com. Thurman Hayes’ column will return soon.