Remember the toy we grew up playing with? That one toy that both terrified us a bit and thrilled us?
You know what I’m talking about. The Jack-In-The-Box. You turned the crank to the tune of a friendly little number and then BAM! This little clown popped up and, for a second, scared the bejeebers out of you. And then you’d laugh and start all over again, determined to not startle the next time. And the next time. And the next time.
How many of us think of God like that? As a character in some sort of contained box that we bring to life when we turn the crank of a prayer or request. We want to think that we have some sort of control over when He shows up and when we keep Him hidden in our toy box of things we play with every so often. And when we do bring our little every-so-often toy out, we are a little afraid of Him actually appearing. We’re curious, but slightly fearful. We want that music that we control to keep playing. We’d like God to pop up once in a while and surprise us (gently, please), but to have the freedom to close the lid and tuck Him back into that box. It makes us feel safe. Like we somehow have the last say.
But what if we faced the reality that God doesn’t fit in any box? Not in the box of our limited understanding or our puny imaginations. Not in the box of our selfish expectations or mustard seed faith. What if we could grasp that His love alone is so vast, so wide, so deep, so full that it can’t all fit within the confines of the human mind?
And what if we realized that He can’t (and won’t) fit into the tiny box of our own thoughts? He lives and breathes and walks and talks with us every day. Even when we aren’t paying attention. He told us He would never leave us. Not in our darkest hours or our most brilliant days. Not even in the mundane moments when we don’t hear the music playing. He is still there. Still working. Still available for conversation and rich fellowship. Inviting us to join the sweet magic of His hands crafting the beautiful plan He has for us. Very alive and well. So far out of the box that we’ve contrived in our heads. He doesn’t “show up”. He’s always here.
What if the music that we love to hear isn’t controlled at all by our hand on a crank? What if we recognized that the beautiful “music” is the Holy Spirit working inside of us? Moving in and through us, like words in a ballad or notes in a symphony? Guiding, teaching, comforting, counseling. The whisper of God in our ears. The melodic background to the story line He is creating. Changing and growing us so that we better recognize our “out-of-the-box” God at work.
What if we were done with the childish game of “Jack-In-The-Box”? What if we were ready to take our hammers to the idea of a controlled God? To smash the box of our finite thinking and open up our hearts to the reality of God’s omnipotence, omnipresence and beyond-measure love. To give up the idea of turning a crank to hear a song and open our soul’s ears to the continual music of the Spirit’s rhapsody, accompanying the very active hands of God.
Let’s not just think outside the “box”. Let’s KNOW outside the box.
Let’s declare that we “don’t know Jack” (:-)).
We know God…
1 Corinthians 13:11 – When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
Ephesians 3:20 – 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.
Psalm 139:1-12 –
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.