A dear friend of mine, R.W. Ley is a Christian suspense fiction author and also a public speaker. She spoke to my churchwomen’s conference over the weekend on the boxes we all carry. Many of us use them for storage. We store not only the fond memories but the negative ones as well. You know the ones- the hurts, the grudges, the “I’ve been wronged” angers- things we can pull out whenever we need an excuse for what we are feeling or how we are acting. Some people carry them for decades. But that only weighs us down and wedges a wall between us and God’s mercy. How can we ever be healed if we are not willing to let go of all that we have stored up in our hearts?
Others use their boxes to hide in so they can barricade themselves from others so they never can be hurt again. It is the touch-me not attitude. Have you ever seen that little leaf? It grows close to the ground like a minuscule fern. Touch the leaves and they close up tight for hours.
But, God calls us to use our boxes as a platform. We need to use them to stand above whatever life throws in our direction and then bend down and help others up onto their up-turned boxes. God is in the up-turning business. It may not be pleasant to revisit all those negative things so we can toss them. It may be scary to step out of our hiding place and choose to be vulnerable. It may feel odd to be flipped around to where He can use us as a beacon to others.
On the way home, I pondered over her talk. There is one thing we must never do. Put God in a box. Just as it is wrong to harbor old feelings, barricades ourselves from the world, or shrink from stepping up and out as a witness for His love, it is equally wrong to make God in our faulty image. We should not box in His grace with regulations and rules that keep others out of our churches.
The religious authorities tried to box Jesus into their definition of a Messiah. When He did not fit, they turned away or declared him a blasphemous fraud. God calls us to think out of the box. It is then that we can witness His miracles in our lives and the ones of those around us. We can be vulnerable and still trust because like an invisible and unmeasurable shield, He is our protection.
The only box we need is the one God gives us as a gift through accepting Christ- His eternal love. And that box has no boundaries.