I get sucked down a lot of Youtube black holes, I usually get on to watch a specific video or and twenty minutes later I’m watching videos so random and out there I’m not even sure what to label them. It was during one of these trips into the abyss of meaninglessness that I came across Mystery Box challenges. The concept is simple, someone challenges you for a prize to reach your hand into a box and guess what is inside, the catch is the box always holds one of two things: something good like bunnies and puppies OR something terrible like snakes and cockroaches. Usually, the audience can see what is in the box and watching someone fearfully reach their hand into a box of bunnies is unbelievably comical while watching someone bravely reach their hand into a box of snakes is satisfyingly stressful (you can relate to the fear, but you are so so happy it’s not you.)
I have a real fear of the unknown. I have planners full of plans because I like to know what each day brings, I like to have a budget so I can divert disaster, I like to have comfort and security with me everywhere I go. I like to be in control. If I was in control nothing bad would ever happen, nothing hard, nothing scary life would be easy. The problem is I am not, nor have I ever been in control. A simple change of the weather can change my plans, only so many things can break before my savings is gone, and life has an insistent way about pushing me out of my comfort. There is very little unknown I can actually prevent because I cannot see the future, if life is a Mystery Box, I have no way to discern what each decision I make will lead to, whether it be puppies or snakes.
This fear has paralyzed me many times throughout my life, I often find myself afraid to move, afraid to decide because I’m not sure if I will get bit and I am so fearful of regret. It’s when I am paralyzed when I am stuck that God always reminds me that He is a good father. Matthew 7:9 says it like this:
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
In Matthew 6:25-33:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I cannot see into the future, but God can. I cannot control the future, but God can. I cannot discern every mystery box, but God can. That is what gives me peace, that is what loosens my fingers on control and helps me take a step back. He is in control AND He is a good father. If he is handing me a mystery box I can trust it is not full of snakes, I can trust that it is a good gift. If my plans change, budget runs dry, or hardships come I can trust Him to provide for me the way he provides for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Through these hardships I have found how truly limited I am and how unlimited He is.
Everyday we are presented with the option to follow Jesus. Choosing Him means letting go of control, it might mean stepping into the unknown (or reaching your hand into a mystery box) and that is scary, but He has given us so many promises we can cling to that prove over and over that He is a good father and His path, though hard, is always better.