We don’t know what we’re missing until we realize we can’t do without it

I’m a huge fan of British Period movies; Jane Austen, turn of the century stuff, and anything made by Masterpiece Classics. Oh, I’m such a sucker. Lucky for me, I can watch them to my heart’s content on Netflix, and I can do it from the privacy of my laptop and Bose headphones and neither of my boys can complain.

For the last two nights, I’ve been engrossed in a seven-hour miniseries called Downton Abbey. I cannot tell you how entertaining it has been to me. Something about a slower time and gentility and fancy dresses and corsets giving you a fantastic figure . . . I don’t know I just dig it.

Anyway, Downton Abbey is the name of a grand estate which is home to the Earl of Grantham and his family. The film is set just before World War One breaks out between England and Germany and his lordship and her ladyship were just having their first telephone installed. They had only recently gotten electricity in the house and nobody was used to it. In fact, they didn’t even appreciate it. They just knew it was the latest and greatest thing, so they had to have it.

There was a scene where the Dowager Countess of Grantham, aka Grandma, shielded her eyes dramatically upon entering the drawing-room as if the new-fangled electric light would blind her. It was quite comical.

I was pondering this today and it struck me; telephones and electricity changed the world. We couldn’t possibly do without them now. Can you imagine being stuck with candles and the Pony Express in 2011? And yet, they were perfectly content to sit in dim parlors for evenings upon end, not being able to see across the room. But after some time went by, they realized the usefulness of these things and quickly adapted.

They didn’t know what they were missing until they realized they couldn’t do without it.

It’s just like spending time with God. You may be going along thinking life is great and while you have your share of problems, you always manage to get through them and you don’t really realize that you could be going through these issues with back-up! Back-up like the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, which Proverbs 4:22 says is life to those who find it, and health to all their flesh. The Holy Spirit is the Advocate, the Teacher, the Helper. Who wouldn’t want that? And once you get a taste of walking through life with the help of the Helper, why would you ever want to go back?

But we do. We fall off in our bible reading, we slack off in praying in the Spirit. We go weeks at a time and realize we haven’t asked the Lord for help, we haven’t thanked Him for any of our blessings, we have turned to friends or food, or substances, or a myriad of other things that are only a poor substitute for what God can and wants to do for us.

We don’t know what we’re missing until we climb back into the comforting presence of the Lord and we wonder, what was I thinking?

My silly British miniseries about an aristocratic family and all their foibles reminded me of this. I’m not sure that’s what PBS had in mind when they filmed it, but I thank them just the same.

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