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My God Jar

November 8, 2014
by Evonne Isaak   —   Audio controls are below the devotional to listen to this devotional or to hymn music while you read

James 4:2b – You do not have, because you do not ask God. (NIV)

Shortly after I became a Christian, I read that addicts in a rehab centre were each handed a brown paper "God Bag", with a prayer pasted on the outside. This bag was intended for the person to write out a note to God, turning their sins and problems over to Him.

I really liked the idea and incorporated it into my new faith. After a while, though, I didn't much like having this old brown paper bag hanging around where it often got misplaced. I decided to replace the bag with a jar. I wasn't even sure just what this jar would look like, but prayed that God would help me find what would work for me. I found a perfect, hexagonal, smoked glass jar with a plastic-rimmed lid. Being a perfectionist, I got perfectly square small notepaper, then typed out this poem and taped it to the jar:

    As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
    I brought my broken dreams to God, because He is my friend.
    But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
    I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
    At last, I snatched them back and cried, "How can You be so slow?"
    "My child," He said, "what could I do? You never did let go."
           Lauretta P. Burns

As the following will attest, I often didn't write until I'd exhausted all my human efforts to do it on my own. One of my first notes to God was as follows:

    Father, I am praying for Ernie to stop smoking. He seems to be seriously considering the move but, I believe, is waiting because of the withdrawal symptoms and how it affects him, me, and our marriage. Please, Lord, take away his fear and give him the courage to take this step. I have nagged him and brought our relationship to the brink with my nagging, so in total humility, Father, I am turning the problem over to You because I can do nothing about it. In Jesus' name. I love You. Evonne

I didn't tell Ernie that I'd turned his smoking over to God. Three weeks later, he came to me and said, "I'm thinking of giving up smoking"! After 45 years of smoking four packs of 25 cigarettes a day, God did what some would consider impossible: Ernie quit smoking, and never again had a craving or smoked during the 25 years before he died.

When we find that we are not in control of a situation, the best thing that we can do is to trust that God is in control, and then to let go and let God, Who has a perfect plan for our lives.

Prayer: Father God, thank You that You have everything under control and that nothing takes You by surprise. Forgive us when we disappoint You by trying to do everything on our own before asking You for help. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Evonne Isaak
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you Evonne.

    Good advice Evonne.

    Oh the rewards of faithful prayer!!

    Thank you. So true. “Let go and let God”.

    A thoughtful devotional Evonne. I especially enjoyed reading L.P. Burns’ poem and have passed it on to others.

    That was the best devotional I have read in a long time.
    I know what you went through I myself am a victim of second hand smoke.

    Dear Evonne,
    I really enjoy your devotional “My God Jar”.
    Thank you.

    Hi Evonne;
    Thank you for sharing your prayers ideal with me. That is a wonderful idea. I think I will incorporate a prayer jar within our prayer group; if that is okay with you. I will share your devotional with the group.

    Dear Evonne,
    I, too, am one who hands my plea to God with strings, or more accurately – chains, attached. My mind plays out all possible scenarios of the situation so that I might be prepared for any inevitable outcome. Thank you for this heart/soul inspiring message! I have selected my God Jar, and will begin this practice today!

    GREAT writing and testimony. A similar situation is occurring in my life now, and I’m grateful to have your writing to confirm my actions.

    To: Evonne Isaak,
    I really appreciated your devotional today, it is so true, we try so hard to solve our own problems and problems that others have caused for us and we can’t, so we are much better off to just give them over to God and admit that we cannot solve the situation and ask for his divine providence to solve the situation.
    Thanks for blessing me today.

    Dear Evonne, I applaud you for Saturday’s Devotional. It was surely written for me, thank you.
    After reading, I searched for a container of sorts, and came up with one and made it my perfect “God can.” I taped the same poem by Lauretta P. Burns on the outside and put two prayers inside for God and I have felt so much better since doing it. So I am very appreciative of your story as it gave me a great new way to let go and let God.
    Again, Evonne, thank you and may God continue to bless you and your family.

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