Slideshow image

In our faith, there are 2 concepts of God, God beyond us or God with us. And we tend to gravitate toward one or the other, which leads us to some possible scenarios.

  • We use His nearness to avoid His power/holiness.
  • We use His transcendence to avoid the idea that He knows us intimately and walks with us.

Whether we know it or not, we have a “favorite” version of God. But these 2 concepts are held in perfect tension. That’s the mystery of our faith: a God who KNOWS us and is bigger than life.      

If you don’t have a big God, you become the most significant person in your universe. Or you look to some other “big” person. 

Everything depends on you or for those of us who love politicians or larger-than-life figures, them. God’s nearness has no real significance or power unless it’s connected to His bigness.

Think of a situation when you need to move a massive piece of furniture. Not a piece of Ikea furniture, but an authentic, old-school, solid oak piece of furniture. You think the strapping, young college kid down the street who has muscles on top of muscles would be helpful. But unfortunately, when he gets there, it’s very apparent he’s of no more use to moving this furniture than your toddler.

It doesn’t matter if God is willing and available if He is incapable. For Him to be capable, He has to be big because the challenges of our lives and our world are very often big.

When we shrink God, we offer prayers without faith, worship without awe, service without joy, and experience suffering without hope. It results in fear, retreat, loss of vision, and a failure to persevere. The little God syndrome is misery and tragedy. If you live a Christian life with a small God, you live small. If you have a big God, you live a life of risky faith, fearless obedience, awestruck worship, and passionate evangelism.

~ David McChesney

Let’s face it; things seem uncertain in our country and world right now. When we feel uncertain, it means we feel small and instinctively look for something big. There’s never been a better time to rest in the bigness of God!    

And if we don’t rest in the bigness of God, we’ll rest somewhere else, in someone else. Or we’ll be overwhelmed.      

When we embrace a bigger reality of who God is, it will change who we are and how we see life. 

Why does this matter? Because it touches on something only we, as humans, can experience.


When was the last time you experienced awe? The miracle of life, a sunset, nature, or the moonlit sky. It happens when we bump up against something big, and we’re reminded that we’re small. It’s perspective.

We’re the only mammals who experience awe. Our dogs don’t experience awe, nor do our cats. Especially not our cats. When we lose awe, we lose God.  And frankly, we become just like all the other animals.

Psalm 139 is the “Christian bookstore” psalm. It can be found on mugs, bookmarks, or framed prints. There’s a famous verse here, and it’s one of the only “I” verses. We always gravitate toward the I. We naturally center ourselves. What’s in it for me?

And that’s the problem in our lives when it comes to God. We view God simply in terms of I.

When we feel genuine awe, it turns our eyes off ourselves and to God and others. The whole intent is not to make much of me but much of God. Center God, not us.

Psalm 139
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

God was there with us in the past, here with us in the present, and will be there with us in the future.

Psalm 139
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

God is high, low, East, and where the sea would be for David (West). He is EVERYWHERE.

Psalm 139
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light becomes night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

God is fully present everywhere and in everything. We live in a world where multitasking happens as often as changing underwear. However, we end up being present nowhere, or we become overwhelmed, stretched, or burnt out. God is not like that.

We move from God’s presence everywhere (omnipresence) to His sovereignty (His power and rule over all).

Psalm 139
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.

See the contrast. David and we are measurable. But God is immeasurable, infinite. Then He takes a hard turn. This is definitely NOT the part that’s on framed prints or keychains.

Psalm 139
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I could them my enemies.

What’s going on here? A response of awe to God should inspire shock at sin and its effects – starting with our limitations or fallenness.

“The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self go hand in hand.”

~ Jen Wilkin  

How do we know it starts with us? David circles back to the same idea we began with.

Psalm 139
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

It all boils down to what we DO with this. It starts with being able to voice, “I don’t know everything about me, and I can’t. But God does.”

And God is big, but He’s also close. So it’s a tension, a mystery. We don’t like mystery. That weird sound your car makes or that unknown pain in your body – we either try to solve it, ignore it, or push it away.

This is an invitation to step into the mystery, the tension. We’re inviting that mystery to search us.

How do we combat self-centeredness, narcissism, sin that goes with our culture, and the world? Let the mystery search the small lives we experience with daily doses of awe.

Maybe the place to begin is: Where do we think we have the last word on God?

  • Who He is.
  • What He’s like.
  • What He can and can’t do.
  • How big He is and how close He can get.

When we invite Him to search us, we’re challenging our ideas of how big He is and how close He can get in our lives.

For more LHC content, subscribe to our newsletter below or follow us on Instagram.

Want to play catch-up, or are you looking for a specific topic? Check out our collection of sermons here