Have you ever heard the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?”. I can’t recall when I first heard the statement, but I have come to appreciate the truth that lies behind it. It seems in so many different areas in life that the person who complains the most or yells the loudest is the one who gets what he or she wants. Being polite and patient, waiting your turn doesn’t seem to get the job done. It may be the right way, but it would seem it’s not the way that works for most people.
I watch in our culture and see that this phrase is true, but it bothers me sometimes. I have family who are known for being squeaky wheels. They love to complain. I can be in a restaurant with certain members of my extended family and without a doubt there will be some kind of complaint about the quality of the food or the speed in which it arrives. It’s embarrassing, but at the same time it is almost amusing as they seem to always get some kind of response: a new plate of food, some kind of “extra”, or even a discount or a coupon. The same holds true in stores. Complain loud enough and something will happen. I have heard of people who have made a habit of writing to the head offices of various companies to complain about defective products. The result is often the same: discounts, replacement product, etc. I guess it pays to yell loud enough. I don’t think it is just the mindset of “the customer is always right”. I think in many ways the recipient of the complaint is just fed up and by caving in, they know it will end the discussion.
So why do I go through all of this? Have you ever given thought to this in respect to faith?
I think that if we were more like squeaky wheels when it came to our faith we would probably be a whole lot more confident in the reality of God and His goodness. Now again, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating that we be very difficult people. Let me put this another way. Often as we go about life it seems like God is never there. But maybe, just maybe, we haven’t been a squeaky wheel. Maybe we have never even bothered to reach out to God let alone be squeaky wheels towards Him. Why should God bother with you or me, if we have lived a life in presumption that we don’t need him?
GK Chesterton, one of the great thinkers in the very early 1900’s has been famously quoted as having said “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” In other words when it comes to God, we are far from being a squeaky wheel. In fact where God is concerned for most of us the wheel isn’t even turning. We have chosen to totally ignore God.
There is a story that Jesus tells about a widow and a judge. It is found in the New Testament of the Bible in the book of Luke chapter 18. We don’t know exactly the issue but the widow was apparently a victim of some major injustice warranting the involvement of a judge. Because of the persistence of the widow this judge chooses to cave in and give the widow justice, if he agrees with her or not. Jesus goes on to explain his point by saying “will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.” (Luke 18:7-8). Put another way, God is far better than any judge, regardless of his social and or political views. God will bring justice for those who choose to identify with Him.
Our culture may only respond well to the loudest and the complainers. In fact, we seem to reward the squeaky wheels. But God is one who is listening and desires to give good gifts to those who seek after Him. So, why not us? We should all turn to God and seek after Him. We can do this knowing that if we are persistent like the widow He hears our squeaky wheels. He will hear us when we cry out loudly, but also when we are still and whispering. God desires to hear our hearts and He is always listening. Why not give Him a try?