He won't stay in the box (actually He won't even go into the box).
Whenever we exchange a real give and take relationship with God with a formula of how to get what we want, we are going to be disappointed. We are going to be fooled by ourselves and become disillusioned.
I don't ever consciously try to put God in a box. You probably don't either.
Last Saturday evening we had a Block Party for the community at our church. We had an inflatable bouncy castle, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot dogs, cake, popcorn, snow cones, a puppet show and some fun music.
For the week preceding the event I prayed and prayed and asked God for a warm evening. It's been cold in our area this spring -- huge snowstorms in April. But we have had some nice days and so I held onto that fact and asked and asked and asked.
Jesus says in Matthew 21:22, "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."
I believe that. I believe in God. I believe He can do anything and I've seen prayers answered miraculously.
But we didn't get the nice weather.
Saturday evening was cold and windy and gray. The kids still had fun but I was lost in my brain again.
Why didn't we get nice weather?
I thought it was a simple request.
But it wasn't God's plan.
God isn't a genie.
God isn't Santa Claus.
He's Almighty God, Maker of The Universe and all we see and don't see. He's the Great I Am. He parted the Red Sea. He raises people from the dead. He mends hearts and lives. He tears down. He builds up. He is God.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened."
So we are to keep asking, keep seeking, keep finding.
But it isn't about this life. It is about having a vital relationship with God, a give and take, a responsive heart to His love; a listening mind to His silence words.
I don't know how to works. I know those two verses I quoted are true though.
I also know I didn't get what I asked for so it seems like a contradiction.
When there is an apparent contradiction between life and God's Word, there's a deeper truth that we need to find.
The Hebrews writer writes in Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever."
That's true too.
We can rely on the truth that God's character doesn't change. He is Love. He is Grace. He is Merciful. He is Truth. He is the Prince of Peace and the Great Restorer of Relationships.
He is also the God of mysteries.
Hebrews 12:15 says, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;"
Don't ever choose bitterness.