God Is Big
God Is Big: Big enough. Bigger than. Big and strong. We probably all know this is true, but are we actually living like this is true?
He is big enough to handle our fears, our pain, our anger. He is bigger than any problem, danger or concern. He is big and strong when we feel weak and tired and small.
God is so Big!
In the last couple of days of Life Journal readings that is the truth that has burned itself onto my heart.
- 10/4: Esther 1-2; Psalm 150; Luke 17
- 10/5: Esther 3-8; Luke 18
I don’t think we really like to feel small. Somewhere in our human nature I think we enjoy feeling big. I know I do. Sometimes we can even resort to selfish methods to make ourselves feel bigger. Maybe we’ve put others down in ways that make them seem smaller so we can seem bigger. Or sometimes we do everything right for all the wrong reasons. Maybe we pursue the perfect home, perfect hair, perfect car, or become the “perfect” Christian to make ourselves bigger. But what I’ve come to know is that I’m really not a very big deal. And yet I do know Whom is a very big deal.
In Ancient Persia, Esther was a pretty big deal. She had everything a girl could want: beauty, servants, wealth, favor, …the King! But what she had to decide is that she wasn’t really that big of a deal either. She was ultimately a servant of the Most High God, and was brought to her position for “such a time as this.” So with courage and faith, she stepped up and greatly served God and His people by putting her own life on the line.
Luke 17:33 says, ” Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
Haman on the other hand thought he was a pretty big deal. His pride led him to plot to kill an entire people just because one man wouldn’t bow down to him. But what Haman never understood is that there is only One who is worthy of all that fame, worship and glory. And we aren’t Him. But guess what? We get to serve Him! We get to be adopted by Him! We get to WORSHIP Him!
Deep in my heart there is a desire growing at an explosive rate: I want to live to make God famous. Because He is really, really big. Because He is awesome and amazing. Because He is the King of kings. And I am just, well, small. And that’s actually pretty great! There is infinite purpose, comfort and peace in being small next to a God who is anything but.
In the end, Haman lost his life and Esther and Mordecai gained theirs.
Our lives make more sense when we live like God is BIG and we are not.
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 2 men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men -robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
Children understand that God is big and we are small. It’s no wonder Jesus treasures childlike faith. He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17). The Kingdom of God is not just a future reality, where some day we will get to go live with God forever. It is also a present reality, a dominion that is established here on earth as God’s people step out with His authority. It’s not our authority, it’s HIs. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). But it’s not our kingdom, it’s His. And in order to let the kingdom of God grow big inside us, we must grow smaller. If we are full of ourselves, we can’t be full of God.
From time to time maybe we all must ask, whose kingdom am I building? A rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life. In the end Jesus asked him to give up what was the biggest deal to him: riches. (Luke 18:18-26) It isn’t that we can’t be rich and follow Jesus, but we can’t be full of something else (whether it’s our “cool” factor, fame, wealth, or even comfort) and still be full of the Kingdom of God.
We all have to choose: Am I a big deal… or is God?
When we stop to really think about it, of course it’s actually a no-brainer. We can’t heal ourselves, we can’t transform ourselves, we can’t save ourselves. But knowing it and living it can be two different things.
“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ He called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:35-38)
The people with sight told him it was “Jesus of Nazareth” passing by. But when the blind beggar called out for Jesus he called Him something else. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he cried. This man who couldn’t see, saw more than those with sight. Jesus was not just the prophet and Rabbi from Nazareth. The blind man who was “small” saw how much bigger Jesus was than that. In the Old Testament the “Son of David” was to be the Promised Redeemer! At a time when very few people realized who Jesus really was, this blind beggar called Him by the name that was reserved for the coming Messiah.
“Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:39)
The leaders, who were a much bigger deal than he was, tried to put him back in his place. But he was emboldened because he knew how big this Jesus who was passing by really was. And yet even as he expressed Jesus’ greatness, he also expressed his own smallness. “Have mercy on me!” he cried. I think it was probably something like calling out in front of all the world, “I can’t help myself. I need you! I am not worthy, but You are!”
And that made all the difference.
“Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:40-43)
I think today’s take-away truth goes something like this:
When an understanding of our own smallness intersects with an understanding of God’s “bigness” something miraculous happens. We live like we don’t need our own greatness: because we need HIS.
Psalm 150:1-2; 6
“Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power, praise Him for His surpassing greatness…. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”
A Prayer of Blessing over you today:
“May you experience the deep joy of a life that cries out, “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30) May you be blessed by a God who is bigger than our hearts can fathom, and whose surpassing greatness makes the whole earth tremble. May you experience a sense of awe that magnifies His place in your heart. May He always be the biggest part of your lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”