In 1989 it made the top ten most famous quotes. “I’ll have what she’s having.” More than three decades later, even taken out of context, I suspect most of you know the movie and the specific scene that line comes from.
While in a diner Sally, played by Meg Ryan, and Harry, played by Billy Crystal, are arguing. The patrons become transfixed as Sally makes quite a scene. The camera pans to an older woman who famously tells her waiter… “I’ll have what she’s having.” The scene, risque for the late eighties, is both unforgettable and hysterical. Re-watching this classic was refreshing and a sharp contrast to public life during a pandemic.
Notice and Being Noticed
Those making a scene these days are typically angry or politically motivated. While out and about, ‘people watching’ doesn’t have the same lure. Even the ‘please notice me’ people are more subdued. With a mask mandate and social distancing, it’s difficult to read body language. Any communication is muffled and smiles seem pointless. If you do connect with the eyes of a stranger they’re typically filled with fear, resignation or sadness. I’ve found it’s just easier to keep my head down, get the shopping done, and get the heck outta there. And it feels like my behavior is the norm. Social interaction…yet one more casualty of covid19. We remain isolated even on those rare occasions we’re not. As agents for Christ, we are sadly diminished.
Church Under Attack
Our churches are under attack as well. My church, Sandia Presbyterian, is indeed trying. Online services are useful, but most classes and programs have halted. In-person worship feels stiff and awkward and not representative of what God wants communal worship to be. Ministry, in general, is severely handicapped.
Will the Church Survive?
Placing a bet on the future health of the church may seem risky. The odd makers may be inclined to side with the enemy. By all appearances, it is as if he has us pinned on the ground and is taunting us to say uncle.
But… the odd makers would be wrong. In spite of how dire things seem, history does not support an enemy victory, ever. In fact, after our worst times as a country, the church and its followers have come out of it stronger. Amazingly, according to ancient church fathers, in response to persecution, hardship, wars, plagues, pestilence, and disease, the church has in fact, flourished.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is a gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” The Screwtape Letters.
How is it possible for the church to experience growth and vibrancy on the heels of tragedy?
In my view, the church, made up of people like you and me, serves as a signpost, like the one CS Lewis refers to. The church is a beacon of hope. We possess what the world fundamentally needs. No wonder the church has a long history of being the stable center for humanity and society in the wake of crisis and hardship.
Not a Building
It’s important to remember the church is not a building rather a community of believers. Sooooo….it follows that if the the church is a beacon of hope, it’s because you and I, as image bearers of Christ, possess that hope. After all, you can’t impart what you don’t possess.
Just as the church has flourished in the wake of crisis, consider your own personal journey of faith. When did your faith grow the most? For me, without question, my faith grew the most when my circumstances were the worst. As my pain and fear grew, so did my dependence on the Lord. I don’t believe my experience is unique. “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” CS Lewis.
Dire circumstances have the uncanny ability to shed light on what really matters. In the deepest darkest valley, you see your priorities with fresh clarity. And yet even in such chaos, it’s still possible to experience true joy and peace. The way I see it, it’s Christ and His presence that makes the difference. Christ Himself IS the calm in the storm.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”
My Pity Party
Ten days ago while wallowing in my own pity party, a dear friend was kind enough to listen. When I finished, she said with kindness, “ok, that’s what you don’t have… why don’t you think about what you do have?” Her words cut to the core. She was right. I had minimized the value of what I do have. And maybe, just maybe, you have too.
Imagine months from now, when the dark clouds of covid19 have lifted, you’re sitting in a diner. No masks in sight and the place buzzes with animated conversation. You lock eyes with a woman who looks tired and fearful. While wringing her hands, she sees your warm smile, and your peaceful countenance and says … I’ll have what she’s having.
All joking aside, don’t you see it? With all humility, we possess the hope the world needs. We know Him personally. His name is Jesus.
1 Peter 3:15 … always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
The way I see it, this awful pandemic has gifted us with a significant milestone. When the church writes an update to her history, she will account for covid19 and it won’t end with lament rather, a joyful song.
Hope springs eternal.
Good one! Thank you Debbie.
Jane Meginnes says
You described our current status well. It encouraged me to think long range how God will use it all. It is God honoring to remain hopeful and humble and consciously stop prideful thinking. Many situations are just a mystery. We have a choice to embrace all God’s mysteries. Bless you for letting God use you.
Indeed. We do need to zoom out, don’t we. Hopeful and humble yes! Both needed and challenging.
Oh this made me chuckle at the memory of that movie. As a Christian & in that context, what a honor to Christ to have someone say “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Thanks Debbie for a wonderful devotion to start my day.
Marybeth Barkocy says
I hope my life reflects Christ so that people say, “I’ll have what she is having.” Your writing always hits home.
Me too Marybeth! Good to hear from you.
Anne kole says
Amen, Debbie. We have hope, just “what the world needs now.”(from another song…) when we are putting our hope in the right Person (Jesus) it won’t disappoint. Thanks for
Reminding me to live so that others will want Jesus too. How awful it must be not to know him!
Same era I think. Love sweet love. And I agreee.
Wow, thanks again, I needed this!
It is like the heel of the hand to the forehead! “Wow, I shoulda thought of that!”
Ha. It takes a village doesn’t it? I am pleased it has encouraged you Pam.
Geraldine Dempsey says
Love your C.S. Lewis quotes and how you always tie everything together.
Thanks for the encouragement Gerry.
Lynora Bayless says
Thanks Debbie. If only the church could take the high road at this milestone time when people are looking for answers. Instead, so many are caught up in the divisiveness regarding the handling of the virus, the racial tensions, etc. We have to stay out of the fray, coming with our “A” game of love, mercy and serve as peace makers. God is not wringing His hands with the affairs of man and neither should we. If people see us walking through this storm without fear and the confidence of Romans 8:28, they will most assuredly say “I’ll have what she’s having.” Let’s not waste this opportunity!
I love that perspective. This is an opportunity, Lynora. Staying out of the fray is not for the faint of heart! It is so easy to be disappointed in our Christian brothers and sisters and resort to our own hand wringing. Amen…. Let’s bring our A game… Love, mercy, and serve as peacemakers. That’s what won my heart! I doubt many can say I was argued into the kingdom. 🙂
Wonderful devotion, Debbie. You hooked me with the movie quote!
Thanks Leigh. Good to hear from you.
Emmy Browning says
Great message. Thank you. Love that quote. I think of our tough times and then I’m reminded of the early Christians and their struggles.
Yes… we have lived in some prosperous times. And still we have cause to whine… Thanks for adding your voice Emmy.
Karen Shope says
I agree with you however I am probably one of the few who still enjoying talking to those at whatever store I’m at. I’m probably one of the few who do not communicate with family. My mother, sister and brother are not a high priority in my daily life. They drag me down with such negativity I feel drained and worthless. However going to my christian friends, and His word brings me the peace and reassurance and builds me up again. Yes I’ll have some of that.
Thanks for weighing Karen. Thank goodness for his word and your Christian friends.
I agree that shopping is not as much fun anymore. I like your comment about imagining the future with no masks on and what that will be like. It seems to me that churches are always under attack – pandemic or not. Good people just need to keep plugging along and know who is really in charge. Thank you for your continued positive messages. I love that.
Thanks Mary. Hope to see you on the tennis court soon. 🙂
Marilyn Lehning says
Thank you for sharing! Until we face the truth of how we are being manipulated how will we heal? In my 84 years you cannot fix if you live in lies! Pray God wants our nation to survive.
What we can’t understand or fathom, I believe God can. And history is on our side. I like what one reader suggested… all we can do is our part. Show mercy and love and be peace makers. Thanks Marilyn… you have certainly seen alot in your 84 years.
Time after time week after week God uses you to lift me. Yes, “I will have some of what she has.”
“He was, and is and ever shall be.”
Awww… Martha, So pleased to know you have been encouraged. I miss you!