"FAITH and Unfinished Business"

Comments about God, faith, joy, sorrow and growth

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MY God, is Bigger Than YOUR God

I was tempted to go another way as soon as I renamed this blog. God is God, and that’s that. Isn’t it? How many people do you know who have any concept of what, or who God is?
Think about it. How many centuries has it been when any one of us has had to answer to such a superior? When have we ever, in our lifetime, had to bow down in humbleness, giving someone a level of respect that diminishes our own esteem to the level of a worm? Who have we considered to be so righteous, that right is elevated to a whole new pinnacle. When have we ever placed complete, unwavering trust in a supreme being?

Undoubtedly, we suffer from inexperience. This nation as a whole, and most nations of the world, have placed God somewhere down around a ‘passing notice’.

What is God to you? Much of the world today thinks of God as a benevolent wizard, there to grant wishes and catch us when we fall. Many more people think of God as some crazed judge, up there somewhere in the sky, just playing us like puppets on strings, making decisions about our behavior as He will. Both of these ideas at least confirm an existence of a greater being, but neither involves us on any level. Then there are those who choose to believe that there is no control or order, no ruler, and no accountability.

We are not supposed to know all that God can do, how, or why. His inspired word says so, confirming the truth about a mighty God, if we accept it. Proverbs 3:4, 5: “Trust the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy path.” Think about it. Doesn’t the idea of such a powerful being inspire awe? Shouldn’t there be a veil between us and such a magnificent creator and ruler? Why should we know all that He does, why, or how? Wouldn’t that ruin His God-ness? Exactly. Wouldn’t knowing everything spoil the anticipation of a good future? If God is Omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient - doesn’t that explain just about everything we know about the universe – and about science?

God is also interactive. What we are, and say and do are part of His plan. What we choose to do or accomplish is either in line with His plan or it is not. There are results. When we are living in His plan, we are blessed. When we are not living in Him and He in us, we’re not speaking to or hearing from God, there is still an outcome, but there is no blessing, no promise of life, no hope, and no peace. God does His part, and we do ours. That explains why we need a king. Why do we search for a Father, why do we want a friend who understands? We need that kind of love, he wants it from us, and is more than willing to give it.

In trivializing God, we are looking for a managerial position. We want to bring God down to what we can control. We want to make him only as big as what we can believe he is capable. “He can’t handle my problems, but I will give him my sister’s problems.” “I don’t want to be a long term missionary, but if God will accept that I can serve on short trips, sometimes, during the fall months, than I’d be happy to serve.” “I pray when I can. But, really, who has the time to pray every morning? Can’t He understand that?!”

In “The Trivialization of God” The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity” by Donald McCullough, he points out the most dangerous fault in a church. “The God of the Scriptures is a holy God-wholly other, radically different from anything else in creation, terrifying in greatness, and utterly awesome in love. This is a God who transcends our understanding and is unknowable except by divine revelation-the God described by the author of Hebrews as "a consuming fire."” He talks about our dependence on doctrine, on practices and observations where the congregation can be comfortable in routine. “This is the kind of God who lends mighty support to social crusades, or who conforms to individual spiritual experiences, but does not inspire awe”.

Define what awe is. The spectrum of definitions go from fear and terror to wonder and admiration. Does this help us put things in perspective? How much do we tremble in the presence of God, at any time, not out of fear of His actions (though that is plausible too) but out of a tremendous respect? How much do we hold God up in absolute wonder of the loving deeds he performs every day like breathing in an out? Do we hold God in wonder of how he created and manages those wondrous minuscule things, or spectacular landscapes? How much do we admire God? That seems like such a strange word to apply to God, but still appropriate. We love Him because he first loved us, respect Him because He is powerful and able, and admire Him . . . what are your words?

How many churches in your community have become country clubs, and community service representatives? Sure, they bring people in, and some of them might hear the truth of God if it’s taught. They do good works, and help the needy, counsel the hurting, give clothing to mission works, support many charities, and have outreach programs every day, all day, all week for every occasion and occupation. You may be hard pressed to find God there, however. It seems that many of these churches or parishioners are on a kind of auto-pilot; doing what they think they should do for God’s work, volunteering because they think that’s what people expect. When God is presented, He is the baby Jesus, he is the benevolent son who has God’s ear, He is the big man upstairs who grants our wishes- if we are good. He’s is not seen as a God of God, King of all Kings.

God is holy. What is holy, really? Do we have any idea? He is sovereign. Oh, that’s scary. We have to place our trust in a sovereign being. We don’t like to think of anyone being bigger than we are, or of anyone in better control than we think ourselves. God is self-controlled, self-governed. He needs no help from us. Sovereign is defined as “highest, ultimate, superlative, utmost.” How do you top those?God is, without our help. He is, despite any action on our part.

Guess what? God is bigger. Get over it, or get with it.

(“Let God be God” Steve Laube further suggested reading.)

April Boyer (c) Mar 2010


  1. Another good book on the same subject is Your God Is Too Small: A guide for Believers and Skeptics Alike by J.B. Phillips. A minister who is a close friend of mine introduced me to the book. He uses it as a guide in bible study classes. It's well worth checking out.

    Good writing, April.

  2. I'm glad you reminded me of this book. I started reading the first page and can't put it down. The author, J.B. Phillips did the highly acclaimed translation The New Testament in Modern English.