In a time when music industry success seems to be shifting from complete dependency on major labels to a greater emphasis on self-propelled ingenuity, hard work, and solid talent; Indiana-based, independent pop-rock band Attaboy is more than a little keyed up about the next chapter of their journey.
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You know the feeling. It’s happened before. You made the mistake of bringing your phone in the bathroom. Or you got careless at the pool. Or if you’re like Relient K, you dropped it on the Batman roller coaster. And the next thing you know, you’ve got the reflexes of a tiger and you’re trying desperately to save your phone before it falls to a watery death.
This has happened to me twice now. You think I’d learn my lesson. But I didn’t. We’re at a camp in the middle of what I’ll call “Devil’s Armpit”, Oklahoma this week. It doesn’t smell bad or anything. But it’s been consistently above 100 degrees everyday. And Satan’s armpit seems like a place that would be unbelievably hot. I digress. I had just finished texting my wife as I walked into the bathroom. And in my haste, proceeded to put my phone into what I thought was my pocket. Nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened next. Rather than resting safely in my pocket, my phone made B-Line for the toilet. I swear, in that moment, I moved faster than I ever have in my life. No sooner had the phone plunged under the surface than my hands scrambled to retrieve it. It was maybe under water for .2 seconds. Maybe. My efforts were in vain though. My phone was broken. I couldn’t hear anything from the earpiece. If you’re familiar with phones, the ability to hear people on the other line is quite important. And so I did what any self-respecting human being does when something is broken. I tried to fix it.
I searched countless pages of forums and help sites that provided tips on how to remedy the problem with minimal effort or cost. One site even suggested putting your phone into a bag of rice overnight to suck out the moisture. Which would be great if I had brought a bag of rice to camp. Not this time. No matter how hard I tried, no amount of effort on my part could heal my phone. It was beyond my capacity to fix. So after at least an hour of fruitless web surfing, I resigned and went to bed…
And awoke to a joyous feeling. My phone had completely fixed itself overnight. I was in disbelief. I called my voicemail at least 10 times just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. In a matter of hours, I went from dreading telling my wife I had ruined my phone to complete relief. And this is where the real story begins.
As the day went on and I shared what happened with other people, I slowly felt God speaking to me, telling me to pay attention to what had happened. “What happened?”, I thought. “It seems pretty black and white. I dropped my phone in the toilet and it miraculously fixed itself overnight. How awesome is that?” But God was calling me to tune in to an even greater miracle. You and I are living proof of it.
We are all broken people living in a broken world. Sin has tainted us. It’s changed the very nature of our being. Because of this, God chose to bridge the gap created by sin through his Son Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth, and in his death absorbed the wrath of God for all humanity; past, present, and future. His sacrifice was made complete when he rose from the grave, conquering death for good. And yet for some unexplainable reason, you and I continue to believe that we need to fix ourselves up before we go to God.
Somewhere along the line, we’ve bought into the lie that God won’t accept us or approve of us or love us until we’re THIS spiritual or THAT mature or THIS put together. We aren’t made holy and righteous because of anything that we do but because of everything that Christ has already done. Don’t you see? We can search the world over for ways to find meaning and satisfaction of the soul. Nothing we collect or accumulate in this world is coming with us in the next. Even Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, pursued all the world had to offer and still came away saying, “Meaningless, meaningless. Everything under the sun is meaningless.” The key phrase there is “under the sun”. Solomon realized the vanity of pursuing earthly pleasures in and of themselves as a means for eternal fulfillment. He realized that he was broken, and that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t fix himself. He recognized that only God was capable of providing him with the sense of peace and “shalom” he sought.
Here’s the good news. Jesus was perfect so that we don’t have to be. That doesn’t mean we aren’t called to live lives of obedience and faith as we seek to know God more. But it does mean that we are chasing after the wind if we think we can heal our brokenness through self-help books and behavior modification and earthly pleasures. When I found out my phone was working again, I wasn’t just happy because it worked. I was happy because it wasn’t my responsibility to fix. You and I are healed only by the saving work of Jesus Christ. Anything less is a cheap substitute. Don’t settle for substitutes when the God of the universe is waiting with open arms to love you right where you’re at.