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.
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.
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.
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.
God was there with us in the past, here with us in the present, and will be there with us in the future.
God is high, low, East, and where the sea would be for David (West). He is EVERYWHERE.
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).
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.
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.
How do we know it starts with us? David circles back to the same idea we began with.
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?
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.
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