by Jonathan Daugherty
I figured that title would get your attention, so I hope I don't waste that great teaser with a lousy article. I have been focusing lately on something that I believe is very easy for us to overlook in the busyness (or pain) of our everyday lives: the infinite size of God and the limited size of us.
Every day our ministry is contacted by people who are in the middle of excruciatingly difficult and painful circumstances. I was on the phone just a few days ago with a wife who is at the end of her rope, feeling she is unable to take another step because of the overwhelming weight of her husband's secret sexual addiction. She is weary, afraid, feeling alone, angry and desperate. And her pain is real, it isn't some fabricated nonsense that only exists in her imagination. She is broken, her soul bent to the ground. How am I to respond to people with such daily brokenness and pain reaching out to us for help? It is a difficult question to answer and presents our ministry with a daunting task, but we'll come back to this a little later.
I ordered a DVD the other day called How Great is Our God. It was a tour that Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio offered recently. In the video, Louie shared some incredible information about the heavens, specifically about some of the stars that have been discovered. One star, VY Canis Majoris, is the largest star discovered to date. It is so massive that if the earth's size were represented by the size of a golf ball, Canis Majoris would be the height of Mount Everest in comparison! You could fit 5.44 quadrillion earths inside this star. Bottom line? It is a big, BIG star!
As I marveled at this fact, I was flabbergasted even more by a passage in Psalm 33 that declared where this star came from. "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." (v. 6; emphasis mine) Wow! Canis Majoris, this massive, intensely hot star that is beyond our ability to comprehend, was breathed out of the mouth of God. How many breaths have you taken up to this point in reading this article? Well, it only took one from God to create ALL the heavens. So, next time you look up into the night sky, reflect on the fact that it was by a simple sigh from Almighty God that the stars and galaxies exist as they do.
What does any of this have to do with human brokenness or marriage problems or financial stress or any of the daily junk that crops up in all our lives? It has everything to do with these things because until we get a proper view of God we will never be able to put our circumstances in their proper place. You see, this same God that breathed the heavens into existence is the same God who breathed life into us. Chew on that for a moment...
"The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Gen. 2:7)
The same breath that breathed out Canis Majoris breathed life into you and me. How might this reshape how you see the difficult circumstances in your life? Might you begin to realize that whatever you face in life is smaller than whatever God can breathe into you?
So, this woman who called me, I knew she needed to be encouraged, to grasp a bigger view of God. I simply began to lead her to a perch where she might gain a new perspective, one that wasn't focused solely on the pain and all that might go wrong (that just becomes a never ending trail of "what if's"). She needed to see things from God's point of view, a vantage point that showed her that the God of the heavens was right there with her, breathing life and hope into her seemingly impossible, hopeless situation.
This is the way God chooses to work in His children. He displays His glory throughout all of creation, inviting us to fall in humble awe before Him for the majesty of His handiwork. And yet, His greater glory seems to come through displaying the power of His grace and mercy in hopeless, painful, broken circumstances that we are incapable of controlling or changing. God whispers to us in our pain and brokenness, "I breathed the heavens into place. Do you think there is anything in your life too hard for me? Lean into me, the Star-Breather, and I will give you what you need in exactly the moment you need it."
"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isa. 40:39-31)
I prayed with this hurting wife, asking God to give her strength to keep going. I encouraged her to wait on the Lord, knowing that His view of her situation was perfect, seeing it in its fullness, not just her current point of pain. As we prayed through some of her fears, God renewed her strength and she was able to take another step forward. Her faith increased and she saw a glimpse of the bigger picture. We rejoiced in God's faithfulness and were reminded that there is nothing too big for our God.
Does size, then, really matter? Only if you keep the proportions in their appropriate places. Life's struggles, disappointments and pain may all be genuinely 'big' problems. But compared to the size of the God who breathes out stars they are quickly put into their place. We are able to keep going because we know that anything we face will always be smaller than the God who holds us securely in His hand. Let us become those who gaze intently on this big, mighty and gracious God whenever life threatens to overwhelm us. I believe if we do this in increasing measure, we will live the lives of faith God desires for us and see the impossible become possible.
"When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 'Lord, have mercy on my son,' he said. 'He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.'
'O unbelieving and perverse generation,' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.' Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'
He replied, 'Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'"
-- Matthew 17:14-21