Putting God in a Box...re-starting that thought

I have this tendency to put God in a box.  I think it happens to all of us, based on the way I hear people talk about God, but I don't want to speculate, so I'll just write about my own tendency.

What does that mean?  Putting God in a box?  Well, I think I first learned to put God in a box when I was a kid.  I'm quite sure I was praying for a toy I wanted really badly and someone anchored me back to reality by saying "God doesn't work like that.  He's not a genie."  And that's true.  But my view of God got smaller..."oh, He won't give me what I want, just because I want it."

Then I discovered that life is not fair.  And I had heard all my short life that God is a just God and a righteous God.  So I complained to someone that if God is just, why doesn't He make life fair?  Or at least for people who love Him?  And someone said, "He didn't promise that life would be fair."  And that's also true.  But again, my view of God got smaller.  "oh, so He *could* make things fair, He just won't."

And over the course of many years, I built a box that God fit into.  Some things I learned about God made no sense in view of that box, so I tossed them out.  Some parts of God that I heard about I didn't like, so I tossed those ideas out, too.  Before I knew it, I had this nice little box that said, "If God existed, He would look like this..." based on all the things that seemed right to me.  Ultimately, the things I saw about people and even myself made no sense in view of that boxed-up god, so I just threw the box away.

So when I was 24 and I confessed to God that I didn't understand Him or His gift or His word, but I really, really wanted and needed Him...and He came into my life and transformed it in so many ways...and I was so excited about all the new things I was learning through this relationship with Jesus Christ...I was surprised to find that I hadn't actually thrown that box away, I had just put it under my bed for safe-keeping.

And I've spent the last 5 years unpacking that box, and trying to figure out why I put Him in there or where my logic came from. 

So it goes that recently I've discovered a new corner I hadn't realized I was still hodling onto.  He has made it so abundantly clear to me, through study, prayer and chit-chatting that He will bring us more children.  He has made it clear that they will be small children (so we're not talking metaphors with building disciples) and that they will not come from me (so no miracle post-vasectomy pregnancy) and that there will be more than one.

He has not made it clear *when* this will take place.  And I find myself thinking, "Lord...I'm completely open to Your will.  I want these babies You have for us."  I wish that was the last of the thought.  Do you know the last of it?  What else would you think if God told you that He'd send you children but didn't say when?

I'll tell you what I think of...I think of Abraham and Sarah.  Sarah who laughed at God because she was old as all get out and He promised her she'd get pregnant and have a baby. 

I think of Jacob, who worked for seven years to get the wife of his dreams only to be tricked into marrying her sister and then told he had to work seven more years for his beloved Rachel.

And then I complete that thought with "if you could just do that in the next 5 years, that would be really awesome.  Because I don't really think I want anymore kids when I'm past that age."

And then He reminds me that I didn't even want Josiah.  PUNCHTOTHEGUT.
And then He reminds me of how He showed me that I could love again and love MORE.  How much I could be stretched.
And then my view of Him stretches again.  And sometimes it hurts, because instead of Him coming out of that box, I realize that He was never in that box to begin with-I was.  And being bent into that box for so very long, when a new part of me is undone, hurts.  Of course it's also freeing and beautiful, but it hurts.

So, maybe we won't get these promised children until I'm in my 50's.  Maybe they'll be our kids' children.  Maybe we'll lose them like we lost Joshua and Josiah.  I pray none of that is true.  But if that's what He has in store for us, we'll walk that path.  Because part of the great thing about Him being bigger than I knew is that He does things I never fathomed that amaze me.  Because every step of paths I don't want to take remind me of just how big He is, and yet He cares for little, tiny, whiny me. 

And little tiny, whiny you.

This post really didn't end up where I thought it would, but I pray that it touches someone.  I'd love to hear about a time you realized you had put God into a box that was too-small.  What happened and how did you learn from it?


Anonymous said...

So I stalk your blog sometimes. My DH had a vasectomy when we were sure we were done (after 3 kids...we thought we were done after 2, but changed our minds). A year later, I had to have a complete hysterectomy and they took my ovaries. Now almost 2 years later I miss having babies. I cling to the verse "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4. I say all that to say that I know how you feel and I hope you get your babies!!

Tara said...

Beautiful! Your words bring me encouragement to keep talking through this journey. Sometimes I wonder if I should be saying things I say.

I <3 that verse, too. But sometimes I get mixed up in the "I don't deserve..." and look down so I forget how big God is. He has been revealing things to me lately that have me completely floored. I'm excited!

And I hope you get some babies, too :)