Years ago Dad and I made a day-long road trip together. As we drove, we collected terrapins as they attempted to cross the highway. The floorboard of the car was crawling with turtles; thirty-eight of them to be exact. I built a pen for them in the back yard out of chicken wire, fed them vegetables from the refrigerator, and provided water for them. The next morning only six of the terrapins remained in my carefully constructed pen. Thirty-two had tunneled to parts unknown throughout the neighborhood.
I resolved myself to better pen building, worked most of the day collecting bricks and rocks, patched the tunnels, and kept a close vigil for any aberrant behavior on the part of my shelled pets. I went in for the evening and returned the next morning to a turtle collection numbering only two.
I was reminded of this boyhood experience a couple of nights ago as I considered why Father God had not answered one of my prayers as I anticipated. I had tagged all the right bases in prayer, offered thoughts I believed consistent with His Word, and expressed perspective I felt mirrored His values. It seemed to me that since I had done these things by the Book, then God would act within the parameters I established.
But not so.
God insists that we walk by faith, not by sight. If our relationship with Him becomes predictable, faith is reduced to a formula. Furthermore, like my turtles, God will not be boxed or penned.
A turtle is going to dig and tunnel and God is going to act like God.
He insists I live by faith, dispense with the contingencies—if..., then—and remember that He is God and I am not.
Here is the rule to remember: Box turtles won’t stay in a pen and God won’t stay in a box.