“The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”
(Psalm 27:1 ESV).
“Mommy, does God know the last number? And does God know where space ends?” This was the sudden burning question my seven-year-old, Elise had for me at lunch the other day.
“God knows everything that is and could be, sweetheart. I don’t think He has made an end to numbers, but if He did He would know the last one. And He knows where space ends because He is greater than space.”
“You mean He is bigger than space?” my second daughter, Adele, chimed in.
“Yes. He’s bigger than space.”
My oldest, still processing this thought with her very literal mind, was struggling to understand. “So… Earth is a grain of salt to the sun. The sun is huge! But the sun is just a medium star. There are so many stars that are even bigger! And space is bigger than those and God is bigger than space! Wow!”
“Yeah.” I let that sink in. “He is bigger than space, and the Bible says that the universe is upheld, or everything everywhere keeps going, by ONE WORD of His power.”
“Probably He just says, ‘Get going!’” She laughed.
“Now think of how big that is. And think of this: That big, big God became a baby.”
“Oh!” Her eyes got wide. “I never thought of that.”
Adele chimed in: “He had to become a baby to fit in the world, Mommy. He’s bigger than space.”
“Well, He was already here before He became a baby Adele. Everywhere. Underneath, in between, over top, around and in and before and after. He was already in the world. So, girls, if God is so big, what do you have to be afraid of?”
Nothing. Briefly, I was satisfied with that moment of my parenting. As the conversation moved to lighter things and I started cleaning up the kitchen, I felt the nudge of the Spirit. My thoughts wandered to the things I fear. Things that are, I had to admit, much smaller than God. Many things. The fearful moments when I get a phone call or I hear the thump-thump-bang of one of the kids on the stairs.
But day-to-day, I fear the road God has set before me. A road others have walked before me and some have told me how hard it is. That every-single-day road of faithfulness. Parenting. Being a good wife. Paying off endless student loans. Witnessing and then living up to the things I say. Watching a loved one suffer silently and being unable to help. Perhaps those people warned me with good intentions, but Satan uses their words to paint my idea of the future with wide streaks of gray. “It is going to be a long, long, long road,” I ponder. And I am afraid. I struggle to take all I know of God and see my problems in light of who He is. Perhaps this life is hard and this road is long, but is it too long for God? My own words echo back to me…“What do you have to be afraid of?”
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear”
(Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV).
Sometimes it takes my little ones to make me little again before my Heavenly Father. Every day I come and I beg Him for food. Beg Him to meet my need. I beg Him to… do what He said He would do. But here is the beautiful truth: I don’t need to beg, I only need to ask. As much as it infuriates me sometimes, my children just assume I will provide for them. They don’t wake up in the morning and grovel respectfully and hope that I will feed them. They don’t craft their requests carefully and tell me with a tone of shock and worry. They just ask…ok, they demand!
Yet I come every day surprised that I cannot accomplish His will on my own strength. I’m shocked that the suffering around me or in me exceeds my resources. Shocked that the life He set before me is harder than I planned for. Shocked that I have no courage, no motivation, no bread, no answers for suffering. I come, with nothing, just as my girls come to me. But the difference is, they simply tell me their needs. They come, ask, and (generally!) are filled. I fret and worry and wonder and hope that He will provide for my needs because my needs are so much bigger than my resources and so much more difficult than I think I am prepared for. But the fact is, none of it is too much for Him. And He will never forsake me. Sometimes I just need this simple reminder: Nothing is too much for Him. Nothing will undo the work He has done. Nothing will change what He is doing. Nothing will change the future He has for me.
“Unto Him who is able to give us abundantly more than we ask or think… to Him be glory”
(Ephesians 3:20 ESV).
Unto to Him… glory. Glory on the long, long road? Glory in the grey streaks of suffering? Glory in the grief and loss and heartache of this world? Glory in aging and parting and the pain of taking just one…more…step? Yes.
Glory when I get out of the car and breathe in the winter air and thank Him. Glory when my baby meets her milestone. Glory when the impossible prayer is answered. But also glory in the pain, and glory in the heartache. Glory in knowing that what I see isn’t everything. Glory in knowing that my suffering, or my loved ones daily suffering, is not all there is. Future hope and glory is in store for us.
We can give Him glory on this long grey road because someday, death and hell and sin and chronic illness and pain and tears will be done away with. One day we will all stand together in health and strength and confidence and give Him glory for all He did in the dark times here below. Yes, glory to Him now, because we know that day is coming. We can glory in Him before it arrives. We can give HIM glory and not fear the road.
I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV