For years I had been waiting for this moment. With a stunning backdrop and exquisite lighting, all three of my kids smiled and looked directly at my camera. I shook my head in disbelief and wondered if I had the wrong group of children in front of me. After blinking hard to remove any misleading film from my eyes, I confirmed that these were indeed my own kids, sitting perfectly poised, and all I had to do was press the button. I kept waiting for one of them to look away or throw a fit. Seven years of Christmas card photos had proven that the perfect shot normally comes after sixty takes.
All I could think of was that moment in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox were about to win their first World Series in over eighty years. It all came down to the final play, and millions of people held their breath as the pitcher ever so cautiously tossed the ball to the first baseman. Don’t blow it, the world thought collectively.
Now it was my turn, and even though I was the only one holding my breath, I was about to win or lose the World Series of photographs. My hand shook as I gingerly placed my finger on the shutter. I pressed halfway down and waited for the tinkling noise to tell me the shot was in focus. For some strange reason, the kids were waiting patiently. Don’t blow it.
I pressed the shutter hard this time, and the camera battery promptly died. NO! Not NOW! Pleading with the battery, I tried to will it back to life. Suddenly remembering the kids, I looked up. Gone like a freight train. They had scattered faster than cockroaches in a floodlight.
I had dropped the ball.
Then came the sage advice from my seven-year-old daughter, “You should have charged the battery.” She was right, of course, but I wondered whatever happened to the indefatigable Energizer bunny, who was supposed to keep going and going with no sign of depletion. Apparently my battery belonged to his sickly cousin, a feeble bunny who could barely gather the strength to eat a carrot.
Our dependence on batteries is perfectly demonstrated whenever a child receives a gift which requires them. The more the child wants to play with the gift, the greater the odds that it came with that dreaded notice: BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED. And it can’t be an AA or AAA, it has to be a 9V or some other rarity that you never keep in the house.
The problem is that we do not have the ability to give gifts like God can. Jesus clarified this for his disciples when he asked, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” (Luke 11:11)
To put this in modern vernacular: Which of you fathers, if your son asks for an Xbox, will give him Atari instead?
Jesus continued, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13)
Because God is love, He gave Christians a special gift that does not require batteries. It is like no other gift we could ever offer our own children.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…
Power is one of those awkward packages to wrap, but God figured out a way to do it. After the apostles received the gift of holy spirit, they began performing miracles. Using this power enabled them to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus.
I never did get my perfect picture, but it did make me thankful that I don’t have to rely on a battery when it comes to spiritual matters. And I was reminded that we never have to worry about the battery dying, just as we are about to win the World Series of miracles for our Lord.