There was a story told by an author I admire (Peter Kreeft) and to paraphrase that story, it goes something like this:
“In our hearts and minds, we need to envision a closet, or large box, and we need to label it, “God’s Box.” And in this box, imagine smaller shoe boxes, all with labels on them. Each smaller box is filled with the things in life we cannot handle alone. We need God to take the burden from us, because it cripples us. And once we hand these things over to God, we need to shut that shoebox, put it on its shelf, and close the closet, leaving it to God. The trick is to truly leave it there, door closed. We cannot open the door unless we are adding another box. We are not supposed to open the individual boxes and peek in at them. We have left them to God.”
And I have tried to live like this. I have a God Closet in my heart. There are many, many issues that I simply cannot handle without the help of God. And every, single, time…and I really mean every, single, time I think I can take one of those little boxes out of God’s Closet and handle it on my own, life explodes. Every, single, time. And today was no different. Ha-Ha-Ha. You would think, at my age, I would have learned better.
A little singeing of your fingers is one thing. I can recover from a slight burn. But once again, life blew up. Why is it that we cannot just allow the Lord His Provenance over us? Why do we humans, with our over-confident free will, continually think, “I got this?” Ha-Ha-Ha. I really and truly do not “got this” today.
As a child, we are impressed so deeply by simple things in life. My mom is continually reminding me about laying on the grass with her grandpa as a 6 year old little girl, looking at clouds. Every time she sees the clouds in the sky, she is talking about her grandpa. She marvels at the clouds and always talks about her grandpa, and she is 88 and suffering from Alzheimer’s. But she has not forgotten that moment in her life. I have moments like that. Some are great, some not so much. And today, when my emotional explosion occurred, I was thrown back into a not-so-good moment, even though my brother and I made it better than was intended.
I was about 8 years old, and my brother close to 6 years old. We had done something we were in trouble for. We had to sit in my room, next to my bed, on the floor, in silence. So I grabbed my troll dolls and my brother and I were hilariously playing with them, in total silence. We were waiting for my dad to get home in the typical 50s parenting style of, “You just wait until your father gets home”!!! And my dad was a talker. We preferred being disciplined by him because he just talked our ears off. My mom, on the other end of the spectrum, preferred slapping. Usually on the face. (That’s another worm hole). But she would slap and be done with it. When we were in real trouble, we got slapped and then the dad lecture later in the day. And this was one of those days. We screwed up badly. But I also recall that we hid the trolls from my dad, continuing to play silently with them while he droned on. Ha-Ha-Ha. To this day, when I see troll dolls, I remember that. And how Barbie gave them rides in her pink car, along with my brother’s GI Joe dolls. Ha-Ha. Memories!! My Barbie kicked butt with those GI Joe dolls out in the dirt in our yard, too!
The point of this is that today, when that God Closet was forced open and one of the boxes had its lid torn off, I was immediately thrown back to this memory of waiting for punishment and trying to make the best of it. I recall the dip in my stomach when my dad started lecturing us, and that is what I felt this morning. I was being lectured by someone who had snuck into my God Closet and torn the lid off their box, without my permission. Well, that is not true. I allowed them access by continuing to allow them a place at my table, in my life, so to speak. And I have been burned again.
And you know what? I am okay. I can pick myself up and move along the path. The Lord is with me, and He is allowing these things to happen to me, in order to strengthen me and help me grow. I am stronger. And each time I am burned, I get wiser (well, hopefully wisdom comes to me). I share this so others can peek over the fence and see how I handle it, perhaps helping them light their path. The Lord gives us the tools, and we only need to allow Him to rule our lives, and not go on like we are the supreme commanders of our lives. We are sorely mistaken if we think God is not needed or required. This world is getting worse and worse, because we are shutting God out of it. We kicked him off the TV, the radio, and out of our schools. Prayer not allowed. I know there are TV channels reserved to programs of faith, and the same holds true for the radio, but the mainstream channels most people watch or listen to are devoid of God. We see all sorts of things God does not approve of, nor which Scriptures support. We have allowed the minority of faithless dictate to those of faith. And there is social fallout. Today, I allowed my self-confidence to come and hit me square on the chin. And I deserve that, because I chose to take the reins, when God needs to be firmly in control.
And as I face another let-down, albeit not unexpected when I consider the source, I am clinging to my faith and resting in the promises of God. And I KNOW, with complete certainty, that God has got this. Ha-Ha-Ha. I just need to pile everything in that box, re-affix the lid, and close that closet. The trick is still to not allow the door to be re-opened. And that comes through subsuming our will to God’s will for our lives. It also means that we cannot take back our gift to God of our problems and our ultimate control of the things in life we simply cannot handle. It is trusting in God’s plans for us, and resting in those promises.
Today a lid was blown off a box, allowing me to peek inside. I remembered many things, after looking into the box. And it brought me home to the fact that there are many things in my life that I am not fit to handle by myself. Things that are not properly handled when I insist on doing it myself. And you would think that after 60+ years on this planet, that I would instinctively know that. Ha-Ha-Ha. Oh no, that darned old free will is inherently strong. And that is why, my friends, faith is a journey. It is a series of events, not just one event and then “BANG” your entire world falls into place. I wish. There is no magic wand that “makes it all better.” Nope. Every day we are faced with decisions we make. Each decision takes us a step closer to God, or a step away. And in those deeper moments when we realize we cannot do this on our own, that is when we get out the marker and label another box, fill it up, and place it in God’s Closet. He can totally handle it. And He wants to handle it. Let Him. I’m going to go close that closet door now. You should, too.