Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email: dena.netherton@gmail.com

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

God-in-a-Box

I remember when Jack-in-the-Box first opened in my hometown of Lafayette, California.
A little sign just preceding the figure of Jack clued us newcomers in to the ordering process. It said:
"Jack will speak to you."
We all know the drill now.
But before the novelty of speaking to Jack wore off, we'd giggle a little before we gave our order.
It was brilliant marketing and customer service.

Before Jack-in-the-Box and MacDonald's and Wendy's and Burger King, most of us didn't give too much thought to the safety afforded by restaurant standardization.
We'd go to our local hamburger stand... and stand and wait. The hamburgers and fries might change from day to day depending on who was cooking that day.

But now, we know exactly what to expect from each fast-food joint.
Standardization gives us a certain security. Each MacDonalds  will yield one pickle, a tablespoon's squirt of ketchup, a dot of mustard, a miniscule beef patty, all enclosed in the usual bun.

This week I'm wrestling in my soul over God's delay in answering a very urgent prayer request.
I sometimes wish I could merely put in my order, pay a certain fee, and get the requested answer.
Wouldn't it be great if God were predictable, like fast food,  and all His answers to our prayers were safe, comfortable, predictable answers?
Like Jack-in-the-Box, God could be expected to always answer our prayers in a standardized, predictable manner.

But, oh, it would also be horrible!
What kind of God is predictable, and bows to our methods?
How would He be God if I could manipulate Him?
If He simply spit out whatever my human heart conceived, then wished for?

I want to box God in.
I want to figure Him out, so I can control Him.
Then I won't have to be afraid of His big, holy, inscrutable, so-much-higher-than-my thoughts.

There is in me a constant battle for my heart's throne.
The old me wants to be god.
The new nature that God has placed in me when I asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior desires to place the true God on my throne.

My old self wants to the security of knowing that I will always be pleased by the god who controls my life.
When the true God is in control, I am not always assured that I will be pleased.
This much bigger God loves me, I'm sure.
But like a big, mysterious parent, He sometimes makes painful things occur and denies me my whims.

When I am god—for the day, for the hour, for the minute—I view God as my own personal Genie.
But when I surrender and step down and God becomes God again on my throne... He is so much more than simply a fulfiller of my wishes...

(I hate that I sometimes view God, my Savior merely as a fulfiller of my desires. But that is precisely why I need a Savior: to rescue me from my slavery to self!)

...He is everything: my God, my King, Savior, my best friend, Savior, Counselor, healer, comforter, the One who fills my thoughts, the One I desire, I the One I yearn to hear and to see.

So much bigger than the safe, predictable box I sometimes try to place Him into.

 The Beaver family and Peter and Lucy discuss Aslan, the mighty King of Narnia, from Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis:

"If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
"I'm longing to see him, " said Peter, "even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point."


2 comments:

  1. Dena, your blog always promises inspiration...and love all these pics. Keep shining!

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