It actually started the weekend before. The feeling that something I might not understand was about to go down. That pull to trust and just go with the flow. It came through songs, through radio messages, through a study I was doing. I had no clue why this feeling was so strong…I really just wanted my dumb ears to stop hurting so bad! I wasn’t really in the mood for a weekend retreat. I wasn’t in the mood to try and figure out why I kept getting this “Trust Me” message over and over. I wasn’t in the mood to be my sweet normal self around friends, old or new. I just needed this ear infection to go away. I was plagued with these babies all the time. In fact, if I had BEEN a baby and not a grown woman in my mid 30’s, I’m sure I’d have needed tubes in my ears. It was bad.
But I stood there on that Saturday afternoon in a room full of strangers. Strangers who I considered in my narrow minded, ear infected attitude as being “odd birds”. No, they didn’t do things like I did. They raised their hands and closed their eyes when they should’ve been sitting politely with their hands in their laps. They shouted out “Amens” and “Halleluiahs” when they should’ve been quiet and listening . Some of them even spoke in words I didn’t understand…out loud in front of people! It was pure craziness in my mind. This former Catholic girl had never experienced “church” like this before and I wasn’t even AT church. I was at a conference where a well known Christian speaker was doing her best to help us know and love Jesus a bit better. If I hadn’t been with a couple of good friends who were actually enjoying this crazy conference, I would’ve taken my sick little self right on home! But I endured as best I could for the sake of my friends. Plus I had to admit, I DID like the music…the one saving grace in the midst of a bunch of stuff I just wasn’t sure about.
Something WAS about to happen and God had been preparing me for this moment for years.
When I stepped out of myself for the first time and made that God-lead trek across the country, something changed in me. That “do whatever YOU want” attitude died a bit. As I became more aware of waiting for and listening to God’s voice in more and more situations in my life, another thing changed. I realized that all the fears I had embraced in my life weren’t doing me any favors. Most of the fears I had were big fat lies. As I began to learn to move away from that all consuming fear and watched it begin to die in my life, something else began glaring at me. Something else I realized no longer had a place in my life…..
…the box I had so neatly kept God in all my life…
He was about to burst out whether I wanted Him to or not. God was about to let me know loudly and clearly that His time in my box was over.
We broke for lunch. I was seriously hoping my friends would be ready to go home. I was trying so hard to be strong and not let this ear infection win but sadly, the pain was winning and I’d had enough. Plus I knew that what was happening after lunch at this conference might be more than I could take. I wanted to leave. They wanted to stay because they were actually excited about what was going to take place that afternoon. Healing services were awesome. I didn’t buy it. But I had no car or other means of escape so I was more or less forced to stay.
The lights went down. The music started. I stood there with my arms crossed, so uncomfortable just THINKING about this healing service that was set to begin after the music was over. I started sweating, breathing harder. The anxiety was getting to me. Then I noticed something odd going on center stage…music still playing, people still singing. It distracted me from my bad attitude. The speaker at this event walked up to one of the musicians and was whispering something in his ear. I was sure it involved letting him know it was time to get the snakes out or something. But it was nothing like that at all. The band stopped playing mid song to let us know what was going on. It was a simple song change suggested by the conference speaker. She was sure that God wanted this particular song played for a particular person in the crowd. OK…whatever! But then the song started.
It was a tune I had learned the previous weekend … a tune I had never heard before and was CERTAIN our music chick had made up herself. The tune was set to the words God had been banging into my head ALL..WEEK…LONG! I wish I could sing it for you now or even find a YouTube video of the song but this tune was so random I’m not sure it’s ever been recorded. The words,however, are well known….
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on thine own understanding. In all you do, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”
My mouth dropped to the floor. Tears sprang from my eyes!
He had my attention. I opened up the box lid…..but just a smidge.
Still kinda shaken from this simple song, I’m not sure I even realized the THING I was not wanting to be there for had started. One by one, she began to call out ailment after ailment. People ran to the stage to be healed. I was CERTAIN it was all a sham. I felt myself reaching in to close that lid on my God box….it’s funny how quickly I went from “Oh my gracious God just changed that song for ME” to “Oh no You don’t” and slamming the lid again.
But then it happened. That thing that would forever smash the box I’d kept God in forever.
She said it loudly. “Ear Infections” Oh no she didn’t! I WAS NOT going to move from my spot on the back row and be put on display . I stood there , arms crossed once again. But my friend next to me had a bigger faith than I did. She knew I wouldn’t budge so she did something so simple. She reached out and placed her hands on my ears while the room prayed for those suffering from ear infections. And in that moment, I felt it.
The box collapsed with a single POP in my ear.
In that one moment, , my resolve to be hard headed, unchanging and stubborn fell to the floor. If my resolve to keep God in a box had been a real physical thing, the building would’ve shook when it fell from me!
After being ridden with one infection after another, I can say I haven’t had another ear infection since that day. God took away my pain and healed my ears but He did something way bigger that day. He forever escaped the box I had held Him in my entire life.
Y’all God is so much bigger than we ever give Him credit for. He can do so much more than we can ever imagine. As I end this three part “Serial Killer” series, THIS is the most important thing I’ve lost and never gotten back. I lost my little image of God. I’ve lost the fear of allowing God to be BIG! I lost that stubborn resolve that caused me to dictate what God could and couldn’t do in my life. This is how He got my attention. I’d love to hear your own “God is bigger than this box” story if you’d like to share it.