God in a Box

Our Bible study this past week explained how we all tend to put God in a box. What we learned from our parents or didn’t, how they viewed God, our particular denominations, our past disappointments, our personal views on miracles, our certainty of God’s sovereignty, or lack thereof.

When we consider how different each one of these are for each one of us, we can see how our boxes would all look differently too.

I imagine a drive-thru…People with orders that sound something like “Can I get a Baptist with a side of hard to please and just moved here?” Next car, “I’d like two Catholics with lots of questions and fear of letting their family down”…Cars keep coming.

“One child of divorce with two sides of scared and extra hope.”

“Two previous churchgoers with a childhood of abuse, add a side of adultery and not sure God’s even real by the way they’ve been treated.”

“One I survived a brain tumor only for my baby sister to die in a car wreck with three little girls to raise and I don’t know why.”

“One divorcee who swore it would never happen to her, topped with the loss of a child and a sadness she can’t explain.”

“Five pregnancies with still no baby to hold, add a whopping struggle of misplaced blame.”

“A Sabbath keeper who felt the Holy Spirit for the first time ever in a Sunday church down the road.”

“Three shots of still single and wondering why…extra hot.”

Each one is given a box. And the options are endless.

Broken hearts. Questions. Assumptions. Teachings. Personal experiences. Each one a different story to share.

Testimonies come from these stories and boxes turned upside down.

God is hoping that one day we see how confining that box is. If we don’t in this life, we all will when He returns.

He’s not a genie in a bottle. He’s not carried around easily or quietly. He’s all holy. All loving. All-powerful. His character is the only thing predictable about God Himself. His activities and answers are anything but.

When I asked my husband what he thinks his God box looks like, he agreed we all have one. He also bravely shared that his particular God box would be that He is a far off God. That’s He’s so far away, He might not hear or see him. That his prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling at times. Or off into some prayer hole. I loved his honesty in sharing. God wants my husband to know He’s close.

A peak inside his box made me consider mine…

If I have a God box, it would be that I KNOW He’s capable of all things. I KNOW He is able, but I also tend to think that He probably won’t…for me. Others, yes, because I’ve seen it. But for me? Probably not. Which is strange because He’s also already given me so much. Maybe it’s because He answered differently than I’d hoped for in a past situation.

Still, He wants to bust open my box as much as my husband’s. As much as yours. He wants me to know that He not only can, but will. When it’s in line with His will and plan. His bigger picture. He will, for me too.

God wants to turn our boxes upside down through the circumstances that we face. He’s bigger than our questions and doesn’t expect us not to have them. We’re human. He’s God. Only He knows it all.

He’s bigger than what we’ve been told or how we feel. He’s bigger than a political persuasion, the thorn in our flesh, that thing we can’t seem to get over, that conversation we wish had gone differently, that character or physical flaw we wish we didn’t have.

When our lives are shaken up, He is shaking up that box. He’s hoping we see how much bigger He is. Because only then can we realize, He’s not something we just carry around and stow away. He’s not under the tree or stacked up in a corner. He’s not limited by what we think His limits are. He’s just waiting for us to see how small we’ve made Him. Because of our box.

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is TOO GREAT to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:19-20 (NLT)

TOO great to understand fully. MORE than we might ask or think.

Let’s look down into our own boxes and then look up to the One who sacrificed His Son to make us His own. The One who has always been and will always be. The One who is close, can, and will one day bust them wide open.

End of the World?

I like to take walks when my schedule allows during my workday. The fresh air helps, the sunshine warms my face and fingers, and it feels good to get the blood moving when I’m in a cold office all day. Sometimes I talk to God or on the phone to friends or family. Usually, I’m listening to music. Christian or some good ol’ 90s hip hop. Today, I was listening to Christina Aguilera, singing, knowing I sounded nothing like her and also glad I didn’t care.

I noticed the sky. A beautiful path of sunshine shining through a darker cloud. Breathtaking, but also a pale comparison to what I imagine the clouds will look like when Jesus returns. When the skies open up for all to see. When life as we know it will be forever changed for those who believe. Our bodies made new, our debts paid, and our future secure in His presence forever and always. The end of our world.

I took a quick picture and kept walking, thinking about that glorious day in our future. I sampled a few filters on my photo but went back to none. It looked the best. A glimpse of Glory in real life.

As I continued to walk, I noticed cars driving into a recreation center nearby. It was surrounded by political signs and I saw a line of people waiting to get in. It was the line to vote.

This year, 2020, has been tumultuous, to say the least. So much unrest. So much change. Unprecedented closures and restrictions. Viruses and protests. Anger and sadness. Fear and change. Loss and political bias.

This year’s election feels exceptionally electrically charged. Emotional. Like it is THE cause and THE cure for all our problems. Like the outcome of this election may very well be the end of the world to many. Like they won’t be able to bear living here if one or the other is elected. Both sides. Like it’s the end of the world.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote. I’m not saying our votes don’t matter or make a difference. I’m just saying the outcome is not the true end of the world.

I feel like God pointed out the legit end of this world to me when He drew my attention to that little bit of sky opening. Like His kind heart was reminding me and hoping to remind others, that what seems so important and life-altering won’t change one iota of His plan for us.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5 (ERV)

THIS will be the end of our world.

With voters in line on my right and the sky opening on my left, perspective was made clear. An eternal perspective reminds us that, election included, God is bigger. Just like the picture I took shows a glimpse of what His return will be like, this election pales in comparison to what His plans for us are. Regardless of who gets elected. God already knows and His plans won’t be deterred because of it.

The devil would love for us to think that whoever our next president is will fix everything or ruin everything. But, just like the rest of us, they are both fallen human beings too. And they won’t have all the answers or perfect solutions. Problems will still be here. Death will still be here. Crime will still be here. Corrupt cops will still be here. Racists will still be here. Because sin will still be here.

Our country’s next president pales in comparison to what God did for us and will do for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. HE is bigger than all this and HE is coming back.

May we lean into that joy and promise when the grief, confusion, or disappointment of this year takes hold. The enemy wants us to think the end of our world is coming on November 4th, the day after. My gut tells me we’ll still be counting or recounting ballots, although I hope not. My gut and my Bible also tells me things will only get worse after this election. Regardless of who is elected. Until His glorious return. That’s how it’s written. But, for those of us who claim Jesus as our Savior, we GET to look forward to those clouds parting. When it’s all said and done. When God says so.

So, for those who think the world will end if your guy isn’t elected, I raise my glass, and say I hope so!! Because that means the clouds will open and future elections and airborne viruses will be no more. And we’ll be on our way to a place where donkeys and elephants will lie as peacefully together as lions and lambs. With the rest of God’s creations.

Continue reading “End of the World?”