God in a Box by Heather Portillo

"The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.’” Psalm 91:14-15 has always been a go-to verse for me.  It has been a great source of encouragement and has strengthened my faith when I faced any time of difficulty.  That is, until March of 2012 when I was diagnosed with a kidney stone.

This wasn’t just any kidney stone; this was a 1 cm stone…the size of a pinky nail!  The doctor told me it was impossible to pass and at this size it would grow much faster than in the beginning stages.  I was in chronic pain and I decided I was going to trust God for a miracle.  I had been studying scriptures about Jesus’ healing power.  What did He say, what did He do?  What was the formula for accessing these miracles?  “Your faith has healed you” – check.  “Believe and do not doubt” – check.  I prayed for healing daily.  I had friends pray over me and declare that a healing miracle was on the way.  Only, it didn’t happen.

Finally, the stone became so large the pain was acute and excruciating.  I went to the ER only to find it had grown by 30% since I started trusting for a miracle!  Hearing this news made me question God’s love for me.  I trusted Him; I believed His word, and I wanted to see Him glorified in the miracle of dissolving the stone.  I finally gave up on praying for a miracle and reluctantly scheduled surgery to remove the stone.  As I was rolled down the halls of Mercy Hospital to rest in my recovery room, I noticed scriptures on the walls, plaques about Christ and His faithfulness, and the loving staff.  It was a light bulb moment for me.

I had put God in a box and expected Him to heal me the way I saw fit.  My intensions were good and my faith was right, but I hadn’t considered His will.  What’s more, I assumed if He didn’t answer the prayer, He didn’t love me!  It was through this experience I realized I needed to take God out of the box. I needed to recognize being able to explain the healing “surgery” doesn’t make it any less miraculous!  He guided the entire process from diagnosis to recovery.  He placed me in loving, capable hands through the whole journey.  He was true to Psalm 91 and I hadn’t even recognized it.  On the other side of this experience, I realized how easily my faith could be shaken, how stubborn I was toward God, and I should never assume He doesn’t love me when I don’t understand His will.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)

Reflection Question:
What limitations or expectations have you put on God that, if removed, could allow for spiritual growth?

Heavenly Father,
Please show me the areas in my life that I don’t recognize you for who you are.
Help me to draw nearer to you through trust and understanding.

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