In our faith, there are two concepts of God: God beyond us or God with us. We use His nearness to avoid His power or holiness, and we use His transcendence to avoid the idea that He knows us intimately and walks with us. If He stays far, we can hide. These are held in perfect tension. That’s the mystery of our faith.
God’s nearness has no real significance or power unless it’s connected to His bigness.
“If God was small enough for you to completely understand Him, He wouldn’t be big enough for you to completely trust Him.”
~ Rick Warren
It doesn’t matter if God is willing and available if He’s not also capable. For Him to be capable, He has to be big because the challenges of our lives and our world are often enormous.
Why does this matter? Because if we who are Christians truly believed that God was big, the things that happen in our world, the things that happen in our nation, the things that happen in our politics, and even the things that happen in our lives would not have the effect on us that they have. We tend to run scared.
If you don’t have a big God, you become the biggest person in your universe. Or you look to some other “big” person. Everything depends on you. Or them. We know this instinctively but still struggle to live differently, especially in our time.
Remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? In the heat of life, it’s very easy to lose perspective on what’s true and what God is actually up to.
Nothing has changed about Him – He’s still God.
Nothing about God has changed, but Elijah changes because he is now aware of Him.
God doesn’t get big until you get quiet.
When our faith is shaken, we want to turn up the volume on God. We actually need to turn down the volume on us. Once we see God as big, it gives us the strength and perspective to go back to the way we came. To return to life, the world, and the situation we’re in – with a new perspective and bigger understanding.
In at least a dozen places in the Bible, there’s a direct connection between quietness and faith. But quietness is not passivity. So, what does this look like? How do we do it? How do we get quiet so God can get big?
Selah: stop, pause, consider, dwell in.
Be Still – Stop fighting. Put down your weapons. (God separates us from our struggle with someone/something else; we resist and finally relax.)
And Know – Become aware of who He is. We can passively become aware of God; it must be intentional, and we must lean in.
This is where getting quiet matters.
Where’s the place you get quiet and God gets big for you? It’s not the TV, the internet, or in arguing or fighting (even for the good things). God needs to separate you from that (just like the Psalm says, “Be Still”).
Most people travel along similar roads consistently. We get to the point where muscle memory gets us to work, the gym, church, or wherever else we venture throughout the week. And sometimes, we don’t even realize certain places along our route because our minds are preoccupied. And that’s just like God. He’s always there, but only when we slow down and stop do we truly see Him.
In this noisy world, God doesn’t get big until we get quiet. If we want to see Him, we need to be intentional about that.
Be Still. And Know. That He is God.
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