The Crane Game

I was talking with a client about God and Christianity recently and, while describing his journey, he used this analogy:

“Believing in and trusting God is like playing one of those crane games at the arcade. The game is rigged against you. Its nearly impossible to get the stuffed animal out. Ever so often, you’ll get really close; close enough to keep you playing. But you’d be better off spending your time and money doing something else rather than wondering and hoping if you’ll ever get the prize.”cranegame

I can totally relate. It seems like sometimes God shows up in profound ways and renews hope and keeps me interested in Him. I get the prize. Then other times it feels like I’m steering the silly crane around, picking up stuffed animals that end up falling out of its grip, ultimately wasting time and quarters. I struggle with this, and I’ve never even been burned by church.

But my client has been. And so have many others. Being burned only serves to compound the confusion and frustration, making Christianity feel more rigged.

This really isn’t a ‘how to get past it’ post. It’s an ‘I’m sorry your faith journey has felt like an arcade’ post.

I apologize on behalf of the Church if you’ve been burned. I’m sorry that perhaps in the most difficult circumstances of your life it has felt like you couldn’t put enough quarters in the God machine to get him to react. I have no explanation for it. I don’t know why God shows up sometimes and seems a million miles away at others.

The good news is that being able to admit it feels rigged is a step in the right direction. Being able to confess that you feel gamed and even ripped off by God, the church and/or Christianity is a good place to start.  Maybe it’s time to quit plugging quarters in the machine and hoping to get a prize.  Instead it might be more fruitful, for a while, to simply do life with people that love you and are authentic about their own journey.

6 thoughts on “The Crane Game

  1. Great post. As I read that I remember “feeling” like I got burned by Christians and church along my journey at times. As I reflected on that time, and other times in my life that I felt I was burned by someone, a big part of “that feeling” came from setting myself up for it. What I have come to realize and/or accept is this…I had “expectations” beforehand of church, of Christians, of God, my parents, my spouse, and some of my friends. Because I expected a certain behavior, reaction or response from any of these people to meet my needs, I set myself up for disappointment when they did not respond as “I” was commandeering them to in my mind.

    In growing my relationship with Jesus Christ over recent years, I clearly see where I was wrong in my thinking. Sometimes people don’t present as they need to at church. Studying the bible, praying, and attending church regularly, I KNOW that I must be still and wait on God’s timing of things, pray that my desires line up with His will for me and accept that, by faith, with a peace within. I make great effort to practice that regularly, yet I am not without fault anymore than anyone else. My parents, Christians, friends, etc are all human beings and they are on a journey, just like me. God bless

  2. I just lost my wife after a 15 year battle. Between my wife and I we had 49 surgeries. We survived cancer, radiation, and chemotherapy. We both had 5 vertebra fused together with 24 screws holding us together. The last three years of her life, Kathy endured screaming pain most of everyday.

    I pray daily in a heavenly language. There is NO DOUBT in my God nor my Savior. I trust each of the Godhead without question. I trust in their infinite, eternal Love. I know that everything that God allows in our lives is for our own benefit…if you are a follower of Jesus. He is our heavenly Father.

    If we read scripture and study it, God answers our questions:
    James 1: 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    He is often too slow for us, but He’s God. He is on His time schedule, not ours. To Him …”a day is like a 1000 years.” My brothers, do not despair. He is faithful. He is not our bellhop, He is God. One day, we will spend eternity with Him and it will be glorious. “He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

    Father, I pray for my brothers, and sisters, who are struggling with this issue. Encourage them and build their most precious faith. Do for them what You have done for me…build in them a supernatural Faith that does not waver. It is none of me…it is ALL YOU!!! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

  3. I agree. Lately I’m always feeling down and the crane game is fighting against me. Is it wrong to get my hopes up when the possibility of relapse is extremely high? How can I become the man that God intended me to be when I’ve been set up to fail.

  4. Adam, if you look at it that way, you WILL FAIL. As a matter of fact, why bother? I tend to be all or nothing like you. My husband is in recovery from SA, and I have eating issues in addition to codepedency.
    satan is talking to you. Stop listening.

    I am going to believe for you. I believe that GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, ADAM THEN HE WHOMIS IN THE WORLD.

    Get some support, please. You shouldn’t expect to do this without community. Bless you, brother.

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