During the 132nd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA it was declared that we are going to have 6 more weeks of winter. We were watching the news clip as they held up the poor critter Punxsutawney Phil who has become famous for predicting the weather. According to legend, if the groundhog sees its shadow we will continue to have wintery weather for the next six weeks.
As the group of men responsible for organizing the event, and the care of the groundhog, brought Phil out of his den and held him up my wife immediately commented that the poor critter was shaking and looked scared. I thought to myself, “Of course he’s scared. The poor guy is being held up before a crowd as cameras are flashing before him with people making all kinds of commotion.” This was not what he was created for!
When I think about the legend of Groundhog Day a few thoughts come to my mind:
- How many times do we find ourselves in a groundhog situation? In other words, we find ourselves doing things that God never intended for us to be doing. It was not what we were created for. Maybe the reason we find ourselves in these situations is because others expect it from us and we don’t have the willpower to say “no.”
- Just as Groundhog Day is the same tradition year after year, how often do we find ourselves doing the same routine day after day with very little excitement in our lives? There was a movie that came out in the 90’s called Groundhog Day, which stared Bill Murray who plays the role of a self-absorbed news reporter. He finds himself less than happy when he discovers he is stuck in an endless repeat of the same day. Every morning he wakes at 6:00 a.m. with Sonny & Cher blaring from his alarm clock singing, “I Got You Babe” and the activities of his day are a repeat of everything he did the previous day without a single change. The movie wasn’t very exciting for me. But, the point is… how many so-called Christians find themselves in a “Groundhog Day” kind of faith experience. Their walk with Christ is redundant and their faith never grows. How depressing that would be!
- Finally, as I think about the poor critter Punxsutawney Phil helplessly pulled from his den and being used to predict the weather, I can’t help but to think, “This is not what he wants to be doing.” But, it is what happens to him year after year and he is powerless to save himself from it.
The apostle Paul may have felt the same way and I’m sure you and I can identify with his words found in Romans 7:15 “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Paul goes on to say in verse 24, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Wow! That is a really good question. And there is a real answer that Paul offered. It is found in the very next verse, “I Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Jesus Christ is the one who acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, but I’m pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
So what can you do to get out of this sin spiral? Nothing! But, the good news is if God has taken up residence in your life, He is the One who can. Call on Him. He is the One who can provide an escape. And instead of the Sonny and Cher song you can sing “I Got You Lord.” The two of you can end this “Groundhog Day” syndrome.