God: “Hey, Wanna Play Toys In Your Sandbox?”

5 Sep

God doesn’t think of it as condescension to get into our ‘sandbox’ to play with us.  No!  He’s the proudest parent and delighted to spend time with us and train us on any level that we’re able to relate to Him.  For perspective, look at how Jesus came into our sandbox.

‘He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.  Not at all.  When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!” – Phil 2:6 (Message Bible)

Most parents will understand how not a single contrary thought goes through our minds when we play with our children or grandchildren on the floor.  Rather, with hearts full of desire and affection we gladly leave our mature adult posture and enter our little one’s world… down on their level.  And what’s more, we leave all dignity behind when we begin to talk jibber-jabber… making the weirdest sounds and faces.  Somehow we forget all pride, even in front of our peers.  So what’s with that?!

Of course, the answer is simple… we’re in love!  In love with these little ones who bear our resemblance.  We’re fascinated and gratified as they begin to mimic us… picking up our gestures, sounds and traits.  There is nothing so fulfilling as to watch how much they look like us and learn from us.

So where did we get our doting parental traits?  From our Papa, of course… because we’re made in His image.  “We love because He first loved us” – I Jn 4:19.  Can you believe that our Heavenly Father has the same responses and emotions as we do?  Well, I hope so, because it’s true!

And so Papa God eagerly gets into our little sandbox world with his gushing heart and the biggest smile on His face because there is nothing more delightful to Him, than us.sandbox-clipart-sandbox1

He begins to train us how to play with our toys and share our toys.  Of course, at first we don’t share well… but He patiently shows how much He loves us so that we won’t feel the need for self-preservation or self-protection.  The more interaction we have with Him, the more we realize He really will take care of us and provide all the toys and play time we ever needed.

When we wear out our toys… or they have worn us out, we may be more open to following Him onto something bigger… maybe a bigger sandbox… maybe even a trip to the beach where there’s lots more sand.  There are so many more opportunities there… and potential dangers, too.  But hopefully by now, we’ve learned our early sandbox lessons and learned how to take our cues from hearing His voice.

Lest we think this line of thinking is a little overstated and childish, let’s ask who among us has perfect theology, eschatology, understanding of Heaven, our relationship with God and the inner workings of the heart, etc.  You see, in the absolute sense, everyone one of us is still at ‘sandbox’ level.  We’ve got to appreciate that God is in our sandbox with us.

So for just a moment let’s take a look at how this perspective may apply to our motivations and practices in the prayer movement.  When God sees that mankind is approaching an epic change of the ages, He lovingly employs our toys which are as important to us as our must-have blankie.  To be sure, we really love and admire our Papa, but we have a few ‘random’ toys in our sandbox, such as: fear-and-shame-toys, earn-brownie-points-with-God-toy, religious zeal to work-for-Him-toy, and maybe earn-a-few-extra-crowns-in-Heaven-toy.  All of which are less than optimal but still quite usable to a wise and loving God.

Although He never imposes fear or shame (“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” – Rms 8:1), He can still employ the devil’s devises and use them for good, (“all things work together for good to those who love God…” – Rms 8:28).  He’s so understanding and masterful.  (“He knows us inside and out, and keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.” – Ps 103:17 Message Bible).  So our quite familiar but devil-originated fear-and-shame-toys, actually serve to press us into prayer.  God says, “We’ll learn a lot of important things with those devilish toys; like how small they make you feel and how much fear they cause, then you’ll be so happy to learn to play with my perfect-love-toys which drive out fear.”

And of course, we play with our earn-brownie-points-toy by praying harder and louder, etc… and God says, “We can use that toy until you learn that I love you as much as I’ll ever love you… just the way you are.”

Our religious working-for-God-toy is so much fun… at least until we wear ourselves out, then God says, “That ‘work-for-me-toy’ was okay for a while but I think you’ll want to play with my ‘enter-into-rest-toy’ because it’s so much more delightful.”

Then there is the collect-all-the-crowns-you-can-toy… oh so attractive and promising.   And God says, “I love how you want to look just like me (with those royal crowns and all) but you are already adorned to look just like Jesus; (“you are as He is in this world” – I Jn 4:17) and you’re already (“the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” – Rms 3:22)  And then you’ll realize that My toys are so much more fun and rewarding… there is no nagging residual void or hurt or bruise when you play with My toys.”

Eventually, God in His patience and wisdom, redirects our hearts into the love of God where there’s no need for fear.  And we find that the heavy lifting is already finished so we can enter into rest.  We discover that the Luke 18 persistent begging for crumbs and demanding to be heard by the ‘judge’ is now replaced with being confidently seated with Jesus.  We discovered that we’ve been exalted to kingly status alongside Jesus so that we can begin to enjoy our inheritance of co-ruling with Him.  These are so much better toys!

Our motivations to pray started out so comparatively infantile and so forced and so driven… but Papa didn’t mind playing with our toys.  We at least spent time in our prayer sandbox long enough so that He got to hang out with us.  He was never offended at our use of low-level toys and eventually tenderly helped us to find better prayer-toys.  And when we learned to love His voice and His heart… and learned to enter into rest and into our righteousness, we realized that His big-picture plans for our prayer movement were so different and so much more grand than we could have ever imagined.  He just wanted to spend time with us because He likes us… and He wanted to make sure that we would stay with Him through the changing of the ages.

OMG, can you believe how far we’ve come!!  Just look at where He’s taking us… from sandbox to kings.  Only an amazing Papa could and would do this.  When we experience this love that defies our comprehension (Eph 3:19), we just burst out in song, “He loves us… O how He loves us… O how He loves!”

We have such a great Papa!!

— MLH

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