We all define God by our personal experiences. Deep down we may know that his fullness is unknowable but we can’t help ourselves. It’s all we’ve got short of the big “Ah ha” moment we will have in eternity.
So, when we pray a certain way and our prayer is answered, we make sure we repeat that same kind of prayer next time. If we anoint the sick with oil and they recover, we stock up on oil. Did a bonus come to us the first time we tithed? Tithing is then our number one recommendation for anyone with financial strain.
These are the little boxes we put God into on our life journey. What we want are as many sure fire formulas and patterns as we can get our hands on so that we can be as successful as possible in our relations with the Almighty. Of course, success in our eyes means “predictable.” We want our dealings with God to be certain.
We may go on this way for a time but sooner or later God smashes our boxes. He won’t be contained. Our tried and true formula for answered prayer fails or our tithing doesn’t eliminate our debt or the sick don’t recover no matter how much oil we slosh on them.
When this happens don’t despair and don’t lose faith. Remember instead: “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker — an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?'” (Isaiah 45:9)
Maybe God measures success differently than we do. Maybe he considers himself successful when he can get us to stop stuffing him in a box.