Sunday, May 22, 2011

Out of the Box.

Before we begin, I'd like you to pull out your box of theology. Whether it's under your chair or in your attic, whether it's big or small, whether it's opened everyday or wilting under a layer of dust, I want you to bring it out where you can see it. Look at it, analyze it. 

Who measured out its dimensions? Your parents, your pastors, your teachers, your friends, your own interpretations and experiences? 

Now, open it up. The first thing you'll probably find is a list of rules. No cussing, no drinking, no smoking, no sex before marriage, etc.--rules more or less strict depending on your denomination. Go ahead and set the list aside; I'm sure you have it memorized, anyway.

Rummage through the Bible verses, the sermon notes, the Sunday school lessons of weeks, months, years. Somewhere in that box, you should find God. Or at least, the part of Him that fits in your box. 

Pay attention, because this next part is essential: I want you to take God out of the box. 

This might be difficult. It is likely that He is tied down pretty tight, like those toys secured with fifty twisty ties. You may even want to get out the chain saw. Whatever it takes, you have to set God free. 

Free from all the rules and regulations you have chained Him with so He could fit into your finite understanding. I know it's scary. Trust me, I know. What if He gets out of the box and looks entirely different than all the carefully measured dimensions we forced Him to fit so nicely in? What if He causes you to question something you've been completely certain about your whole life, those carefully crafted theological convictions? What if He's bigger, more incomprehensible, than you had ever imagined?

It's true. If you let Him out of the box, He will mess you up. I guarantee it. God does not fit in a box, no matter how intricately constructed. And it is frightening, admitting that God is bigger than our comprehension, truly giving Him free reign in our lives to do what He will. 

But when we take the risk, when we trust in His goodness and fully surrender our desire to "define" the God who created us, He draws us deeper into the mystery of who He is, closer to His heart. And suddenly, we don't need answers. Because we've got Him.  

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