When I was younger, and often times bored, I would lay my back on the hard concrete sidewalk in front of our house and stare intently into the massive sky above me. I’m not sure exactly what I was looking for and, even if I found it, I’m not sure I would’ve known what it was.
Maybe I wanted to discover something no one else had discovered. Maybe I thought that someone somewhere was examining the same thing I was. Maybe those times were my very first attempts at seeking something greater than myself – something superior that lives and breathes outside the realm of pain and suffering. Or, maybe I was just waiting for God to reveal Himself – right then and there. Regardless of the question, the answer is always the same: I am exceedingly small and God is exceptionally big.
The mystery of creation has and continues to baffle me. It’s completely inconceivable and yet offers an enormous amount of hope, all at the same time. It’s enough to make you or break you. Yet God, despite the pain we persistently cause Him, still chose to write the clouds into existence. Before the beginning of time, he chose the placement of the stars and the brightness of the moon. He chatted with galaxies and gave the sun its inexhaustible fire. At the very least it’s a mystery yet at the same time it’s mysteriously beautiful. And, as oddly as it sounds, it reminds me of my children.
Like those times I spent looking at the stars, I now find myself staring into the eyes of the children God so selflessly entrusted to Melissa and I. I examine all the little hairs on their heads as they sleep at night because I find it magnificent that “the very hairs on their heads are all numbered.” I look at their teeth and eyes and skin and am speechless, once again, at the beauty of God’s creation. They are real people. And they have real bodies. They eat and they poop – and they eat and poop some more. They repeat things we wish they would never repeat. And someday they’ll make real decisions and those decisions, whether positive or negative, will affect the course of their lives forever. It’s scary and it’s beautiful and it’s an honor, all wrapped up in little packages we call kids.
Psalm 48:1 declares, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.”
Seeing the birth of my two children and experiencing the hand of God’s miraculous power, the word “great” has a new significance in my life. His word is great. His promises are great. His presence is great and it should ignite a holy fear within us – enough to cause us to fall at His feet, speechless and in awe of His enormity. And His greatness should birth within us a new song as we begin to appreciate His magnitude:
From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
God is great and, at the same time, He’s attainable. Scripture doesn’t give us an abstract picture of God, such as a philosopher would give, but rather it paints a very living God before us and lets us see and examine the beauty of His hand. Everywhere we look we see this as reality. We look into the sky and His footprint. We look into the eyes of our children and boast of His handiwork. Let us never forget the vastness of our God.
Melissa and I started Rethink Monthly magazine to cause people to rethink God in our culture – rethink the way we’ve always done religion and experience God in new and creative ways. However, in my opinion, some things don’t need to be rethought – because they are beyond our realm of thinking. And so it is with God’s greatness. We simply need to remember that He is great, and we are not. We need to learn from the psalmist who wrote. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
Let us stop thinking and proclaim, “Great is the Lord. And greatly to be praised.”