God in a box

Photo Credit: sⓘndy° on flickr. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

One of the ironies of the church is that we claim a God who is all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful and yet live as though he isn’t really. We seem to prefer the God in a box version.

But why? Given the choice between an all great and glorious God, why would we choose a paler shade?

1) We know where to find him. When we have God confined in a box, we don’t have to go hunting for him. We don’t have to trust that he is “somewhere” in the everywhere. He’s right where we left him.

2) We know what he knows. We’ve put him in a box, limited his reach and range and ability to see. So he only knows as much as we let him basically. Convenient for keeping our lives nicely segregated.

3) We have the illusion of control. The “joke” when I was growing up was that if you gave God control of your life, he was going to send you to Africa as a missionary. Like God’s idea of fun was torturing us and that we would find his will torturous. But when we box God in, we’re in charge of how much he can interfere, um intervene in our lives. We can set out the plan and then drag his box along rather than letting him steer. His power is never on display in our lives because we have chosen to keep the reins ourselves.

I know – I’m as guilty as the next person. It seems as though it should be easy to want, to believe, to trust in an all-powerful God. Second-best in this case just isn’t worth it.