Halloween has always been a weird holiday for me. I remember trick-or-treating growing up. As a little guy I remember going door to door up and down the hills of our neighborhood in Alabama. Walking for what seemed like hours and miles. I remember some years being so hot that I was a sweaty mess by the end of the evening. I remember other years being so cold that I didn’t care about getting any more candy. I just wanted to go home and warm up!
The hardest part about Halloween growing up was the “sorting” at the end of the night. My parents always said they needed to check for bad stuff before I could eat any of the candy. While that might be true, as a parent now I have another perspective too. Part of what was happening was the “parent tax.” Somehow it didn’t seem fair for me to do all that walking and for my dad to take a couple of my beloved Reese’s peanut butter cups away. All that effort, with less to show for it!
Sometimes it feels like prayer is like that too, doesn’t it? We pray and pray and pray, only to have less than we hoped for after we’re done. We feel like we’ve earned something through our own self-efforts. Like God owes us.
And before long, our lives are much scarier than any costume we could wear. We swell with pride and start looking down on the people around us. And soon we even stop talking to God at all. We’re like pre-teens trying to hide our own stash of candy in our rooms. Not even realizing that God has our best interests in mind. And we make ourselves sick with what we think we’ve earned.
So, what do can we do?
Come home like a child. Come home realizing that it is by grace that we even have a Home to come home to. Exercise the same faith we had while knocking on doors to get candy. Back then, we believed that if the people were home we could knock and get candy. So, we kept walking and knocking without giving up, because we knew the reward was worth it.
On Sunday we’ll see the value of continuing to knock on God’s door through persevering in prayer. We’ll see the blessings of His mercy and the faith necessary to keep pursuing Him. We’ll see that God already paid our “parent tax” for us. He wants us to enjoy something far better than Reece’s peanut butter cups!
So, enjoy Halloween on Thursday, and then we’ll see you Sunday for better treats!