For most of my life, I have had a box. It was a very special box and it contained a very special part of my life… “my God”. I always knew where it was… behind the winter sweaters, on the top shelf, in my bedroom closet on the second floor of my house. I liked to keep hidden so it would stay safe, yet accessible enough that when I really needed it, I could climb up on the step stool and quickly retrieve it.
I liked making all of my own decisions, living the way I wanted to; after all, I was a decent person. I tried to teach my children about our Christian faith, occasionally went to church, obeyed the commandments…. at least most of the time. I was a good citizen, loved my family and friends, was a dependable employee and tried to make a difference in volunteering for various school and church functions. I only needed God’s help on the really big matters in my life… during an emergency like a death in the family, the medical uncertainty, the occasional tornado warning, the airplane rides, as I walked to my car in the dark parking lot, when I did not have the money to pay the mortgage or car payment. That is when I would take out my box and ask “my God” to please protect me and solve my problem. Hmmm….. yeah…. it just does not work that way.
Sometimes I wonder what God really thinks of us. I know He loves us beyond measure, but I think most of the time He looks down, closes His eyes and just shakes His head… you know, like we as parents look at our kids when they do the most obscure, ridiculous things. Oh, but what a patient God He is… for this characteristic of Him, I am so thankful!
As we remember the tragedy of 9/11 on this 10 year anniversary date, I am once again reminded of “the box”. That day will forever be etched into our hearts and minds. We will never forget where we were or the terror we felt… the pictures and images that flashed on the screen… the tears… the cries. We as individuals and as a collective nation pulled out “the box” on that horrific day. We prayed to God in Heaven for our comfort, answers, meaning…. we gathered in churches, in schools, on government properties. We came together as families, communities, a nation… undivided, resolved, determined. Even our congress showed unity as they sang “God Bless America” on the capitol steps in Washington. We needed God so desperately during that time of crisis. But as the days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, months into years… we slowly, quietly, put God back into our boxes, climbed upon the step stool and put Him back on the shelf to once again collect dust.
Why do we make Him so small? Why is He big enough to create the world and everything within it, big enough to run towards during times of disaster and great need…. but too small to completely trust with every part of our lives?
Close your eyes for just a quick moment and imagine if we would ALL let God out of our boxes… if we all surrendered complete control. If we all prayed and trusted for every decision knowing He is in control and He does know what is best for us? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Oh… can we really believe Him? Can we turn to Him everyday and say, “Your plans, Lord… not mine”? I think so much of the heartache and pain we experience is due to us doing things “our way”… following “our plans”. What would happen to our relationships, marriages, children, futures, careers and outreach missions if we would let God completely reign over them? What would happen within our churches, communities and nation?
God wants to do amazing things within each of us, our families and our lives… but we just won’t get out of the way. He has to continually clean up our messes (especially mine), before He can set us on that planned, prosperous path that has a hope and a future.
So today, as we remember this tragedy within our nation, may it be a challenge to us. May we get the box out of the closet, open it up and let God have complete control in every area our lives, then throw the box away (or if you are going green, you may recycle). God has beautiful things in store for us… He can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”… we just have to let Him.
Remembering 9/11, the fallen heroes and the countless sacrifices made each day for our great nation! May God truly bless the United States of America!
May you find the beauty in today,
“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)