“Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray… He fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common…’ And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.’ And Peter went down to the men and said, ‘I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?’ And they said, ‘Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man,.. was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.’ So he invited them in… And he said, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean… Truly I understand that God shows no partiality. [Jesus Christ] is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’” Acts 10:9-15,19-23,28,34,42-43
In the flesh, as much as we might expand our knowledge and gain experientially over the course of our days, we are limited in our understanding. There is always more to learn. It can be easy to put God in a box, comprehending Him within the context of our culture, upbringing, education, trained perspective. This passage breaks open the box, opening its lid and knocking out its sides to reveal a vaster view of the Almighty. In doing so, it also beckons us to open the boxes of our hearts and minds to grasp more fully the broad love and mercies of God.
What limits do I place on those whom the Lord can love and redeem, how He will work? Where am I trapping any who disagree with my worldview into a shallow grave, writing them off with permanent label and seal? How have I limited my own heart by self-defined standards and a provincial mindset and refused any individuals or ideas that deviate? Am I in the habit of neglecting or ignoring anyone or anything I do not prefer? How would the Lord change me? Are there new patterns of thinking He is inviting me to consider, new love and understanding He wants to teach?
Good Father, break all boxes of partiality in my life as You did in Peter’s. Soften me to receive Your good word and apply Your truth to all I think, feel, and do. By Your Spirit, turn my perplexity into willing faith, my confusion into understanding. Expand my mind and heart to take in and give out Your boundless, all-encompassing love.