Monday Musing: Putting God in a Box

by | Uncategorized | 8 comments

One of my favorite aspects of teaching Sunday school to elementary students is praise and prayer. They thank God for simple things–food, family, friends, clothes, summer fun, sunshine. They pray for things that  matter–healing for the bruises on their knees, a splinter in their fingers, their pets’ fleas, a sick grandparent, our soldiers, the child in Swaziland we sponsor.

When they pray, they aren’t reciting rote prayers. They aren’t going through the motions. They pray with the innocence of a child who has the faith of a mustard seed. They haven’t become jaded by life events. They believe God is bigger than the bogey man. And they get excited when they pray.

Adults have a lot to learn from children.

When you pray, do you pray with a faith that God hears your prayers, or do you recite a rote prayer that you don’t believe will extend farther than the tree limbs. Adults tend to put God in a box, believing He has limited abilities or limited desires to help us.

Do you put God in a box? I confess to doing it more than I’d like. I’ve heard Bible stories of God’s greatness for as long as I can remember. As I’ve grown older and learned how to apply God’s principles to my life, I’ve also been apt to shove His greatness in a box. God is big. God is strong. God is mighty.

But God has more important things to care for than my little situation.

He doesn’t care about the problem I’m having with my manuscript. Or why would He care about my minor toothache when people I love are sick with cancer? And why bother praying for little things when huge things like the BP oil spill pollutes our water, endangering His creation?

See how nicely I shoved Him in that box?

When we limit our thinking in determining what God can do, we shove Him in a box. Sometimes we duct tape it shut. Sometimes we sit on the box. Sometimes we pile other boxes on top of that one so He can’t escape.

When we put God in a box, we are demonstrating our limited faith and could end up missing out on unexpected blessings.

So how do we keep from putting Him in a box? Practice a child-like faith the size of a mustard and know in our hearts and know without a shadow of doubt that God hears our prayers and answers them according to His timetable.

God wants to talk to us, move through us, and use us to spread His message. When we allow our hearts and minds to open and be used by him, we will see his mightiness is so huge, we couldn’t even begin to find a box large enough to hold His amazing abilities.

For nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 NIV

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  1. T. Anne

    Guilty here! I have to remind myself he cares about everything and can do everything that's because he's God and all things are easy for him. What a wonderful reminder!

  2. Jessica Nelson

    Wonderful post! I know I do this too. tsk, tsk. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Jody Hedlund

    Hi Lisa,

    I think you nailed this concept on the head! It's so fun to listen to children pray–and share their prayer requests! (Praying about the fleas on dogs is so true!)

    But somewhere along the way to adulthood, as we experience hardships and disappointments, we start to box God up. As my pastor continually reminds us, "God is large and in charge." Even if the answers to my prayers aren't what I expected!

  4. Terri Tiffany

    This speaks to me today! I'm guilty of doing that on a daily basis. I remmeber that childlike faith from seeing my own daughter pray and believe. I need to get it back!

  5. Lisa Jordan

    T. Anne, the things we struggle with on a daily basis are a breeze for Him. We try so hard to do things on our own, only to find it's usually easier and more peaceful with His Divine Intervention.

  6. Lisa Jordan

    Jessica, I think we're all guilty of doing it. 🙂

  7. Lisa Jordan

    Jody, I love your pastor's comment. So true about how life experiences can jade adults.

  8. Lisa Jordan

    Terri, you and me both! I think if we remember to go to God in prayer first and have faith in what we pray, then He will give us discernment to make decisions that please Him.