Why do we put God in a box?
Why do we have no problem praying for God to heal a child’s cancer, but feel odd asking Him to fix our stuffy nose? Do we assume He’s too busy to deal with the little stuff, or are we limiting what He’s capable of and what He cares about?
Why do we find it so easy to pray in a church building, but feel strange doing it in the shower before we start our day, or while sitting on the commode? Are we so certain that God is so big and holy that He can only be approached in a reverent manner? And certainly not while we’re naked or doing personal business in the bathroom?!
I mean, sure He invented our bodies, and everything about them, including our private parts and even our elimination processes, but He doesn’t wanna see that! Right?! We feel shame about certain circumstances much like Adam and Eve did in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit. We rush to hide our nakedness, of body and thought-life, to keep them hidden from God.
But is He calling, “Where are you child? Why have you hidden yourself from me?”
So we think, “God is too big, busy, and divine to hear about the traffic on the way to work, and I’m sure He has little concern over the spat I had with my best friend. He cares about the monumental things that affect the world at large, and surely He leaves the little details of my day to me.”
Why do we put God in a box?
Who are we to assume what He cares about and what He does not?
So, why do we consider certain aspects of our life worth sharing with the Lord, but not others?
We’ll ask God to bless our bank account, but not our marriage bed. We’ll pray about things like the physical health of our children, but consider sex too taboo to discuss with the big guy upstairs. And what does that mean anyway? Guy upstairs? Doesn’t He live right here in our hearts?
That really gets us thinking.
But that would mean He’s with me when I wash my butt, do that wild thing under the covers that drives my husband crazy, when I’m picking my nose, and cussing out that slow driver in the left-hand lane of the highway!
I’m not sure I’m ready to think about that!
Yes, it’s much easier to imagine Him like a fatherly genie who grants wishes when I ask for my co-worker’s test results to come back good, or to bless the Thanksgiving feast when we say grace.
He can be the God who comes through when I need Him, but who stays in the shadows when I don’t.
He can be the God of Sunday, for sure, but hopefully not the God of Friday night.
He can stay aloft in the clouds making me feel guilty at altar call, but otherwise attending to more pressing matters while I gossip about my neighbor.
He can stay in His box until I’m ready to take Him out! He can be the big God I come to when I think about it, hit a valley in life and really need Him, or perhaps when I finally get my life straight! I can’t imagine He’d be interested in a screw up like me and my everyday mundane. Maybe I’ll ask the preacher to pray for me or my grandma. I mean, she has like a straight phone line to the big guy!
Yeah, I’m gonna keep God is this religion box. It says I need to follow all the rules before I can talk to Him one-on-one about my life. Plus my life is pretty dull, and I know ain’t nobody got time for that. I know that pastor said once something about Jesus being the new covenant that gives me access to the Father, but I’m pretty sure you have to be ‘not sinning’ for that to work. And I know I heard something about Jesus taking away my sins and making me new, but I don’t know if that counts if I’m still struggling with that one thing.
That one thing. I know I can’t talk to God about that! He’s probably sick and tired of me asking for help with that. He’s probably wondering why I haven’t licked it yet. Better wait until I get it straightened out.
Plus, He’s got lots of kids to save from fires, persecuted Christians overseas to rescue, and calamities to keep calm. He doesn’t have the time or interest in whether I take the new job, buy that used car, or volunteer at my kid’s school. I can take care of this, and He can work on the important stuff.
But what constitutes important to God?
What if me loving my spouse makes Him smile? Or what if He enjoys when I ask Him to not let it rain on the day of my yard sale? What if He sees me as His child just like the Bible says, and because of that, He cares about every single aspect of my day? What if He wants me to ask so that He can answer? What if He likes giving me the desires of my heart and showing me how He can work out even the tiniest detail just for me?
What if we took God out of the box and let Him live in our hearts? What if we realized we can walk with Him just like Moses did? Each and every day, every moment, conversing with the One who loves us more than anything else in this world?
What if we realized when we limit our approach to God we’re really limiting God?
What if we accepted the relationship He offers and put religion in the box? And while church, community, accountability, and rules have their purpose… if they overshadow God’s grace making Him appear unapproachable, then they’re not doing what God intended at all.
He wants to love us, be with us, and be a part of everything we are a part of each day. He wants to walk hand in hand, hear every problem, and be the center of our life. He wants constant conversation and constant trust. Anything less, such as thinking some parts of our life don’t interest or involve Him… that’s simply putting God in a box.
And that’s not where He belongs.