Some believe they completely understand everything God does. They will gladly provide you with a list of things that God can and cannot do. Truth is, if you have God completely figured out, you might want to look for a new God. If you have God completely figured out, expressed in a logical formula,and reduced to a set of traditions, then I want to suggest to you that it’s not the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present, all-loving, God of scripture.
Without realizing it, you may have settled for a God created in your own image.
I have some friends who, it seems to me, have tried to put God in a box. They do not believe God’s Holy Spirit lives in the body of a Christian. They deny God’s power to heal today. To be honest, I’m not sure why they pray, since any answer would require God to work in a way that is outside the box they have tried to put Him in. These friends cringe if you use the word “miracle.”
Four quick stories.
On a shelf in my office is a photograph of a Skyline member who is cooking chickens on the BBQ grill that is located behind Skyline’s activity center. The significance of the photo is that the man cooking was supposed to be dead. Doctors had given him weeks, maybe even days to live. And that prognosis was offered over a year before the photograph was taken. We prayed. He lived. Our church family gave credit to God. We believe God is powerful. We try not to confine Him.
Last Wednesday night a Skyline member came to the weekly meeting of elders and ministers. She wants to be healed of her sickness. She is preparing for surgery. The elders read scripture(James 5), anointed her with oil, and prayed for her. This scene unfolds frequently in our meetings. It is a regular part of the ministry of our shepherds. We believe God is powerful. We try not to confine Him.
A family called for me, their minister to come to the children’s hospital. Their infant son was in an intensive care unit. The doctors had “called in the family” in anticipation that the baby was not going to live. When I arrived at crib-side the family was gathered around, weeping. They were unable to hold their little baby, who had all kinds of tubes running in and out of his body. A monitor indicated the baby’s temperature was nearly 105. When I walked in they immediately asked me to pray. I prayed. And as soon as I opened my eyes after the amen, I watched the monitor as the number slowly, steadily dropped. Within a matter of 3 minutes the temperature was 98.6 degrees. The family was now crying tears of joy. I was more sure than ever that I didn’t have any power. God received the honor and glory. We believe God is powerful. We try not to confine Him.
The phone rings at my church office. One of my good friends, a deacon at the church, calls to say his baby nephew has a brain tumor. His call set in motion at Skyline what was already in motion at the baby’s home church. Phone calls went out. Prayer requests were emailed. The baby was taken to first one hospital and then another. There was testing, diagnosis, surgery, treatment. All the while there were prayers being offered and a blog detailing the day to day progress of the treatment. The phone rang again at the office. This time the message was about the results of the latest tests. Doctors would not say the tumor was completely gone, but it was so small they couldn’t measure it. This family gave thanks and praise to God. We believe God is powerful. We try not to confine Him.
I’ve briefly recounted but four stories when I could have included many, many more.I hope these will encourage you to examine your faith. I don’t mean “examine your faith” as in whether you believe or not. What I mean is to examine your faith, in particular asking yourself who you believe in. Who is this God? Have I created Him in my image, with human limitations, allowing Him to do only what I can comprehend or explain? We believe God is powerful. We try not to confine Him.
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You.
I want to know You.
Forgive me when I try to box up up in a neat little package.
Forgive me for the idolatry that happens when I try to recreate You in my image.
Let Your glory be seen in spite of me.
In Jesus’ name,
Tomorrow: God in a Bottle