Praying Towards Sunday
Luke 7: 11-17 describes one example of Jesus bringing back to life a man who had died, and whose body was in the process of being buried. Luke describes the man’s mother, a widow, whose only son has died, and a large crowd in the funeral processional. Upon seeing this, Luke says “the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her”. And he restored life to her only son.
When I read this, my first reaction is “how big is our God!”. What an overwhelming thing to observe. What an incredible time to be alive; to witness such a miracle. All of these responses to this passage cause me to pause and think about our Lord God, but I must admit, at this moment in time for me personally, the response, the reaction that resonates in me most deeply is “How big is our God?”
How big indeed?! I pose this as a both a question AND an exclamation. Because I am responding to this passage in both of those ways: to ask myself: “How big is God? “And to also declare or exclaim: “How BIG is our God”!
First, the question: “How big is our God?” Posed as a question, to me this seems to be a test of faith. We all “know” that God is all powerful; omnipresent; from which everything has sprung. But how often do we really think, really internalize, really ponder the vastness of God? It can be a bit daunting and overwhelming, to say the least. But to sit in that knowledge, to have faith in God’s “bigness” is, for me, one of the most remarkable gifts of being a Believer. But being a Believer and having faith in God’s “bigness” is sometimes tricky business. I often forget God’s “bigness” when I allow myself to worry over problems both big and small. Usually, if I’m honest, small problems worry me much too often. And as someone once told me, worrying about our problems is really an indictment of our faith and of God’s plan and care for us. Without being too much of a Pollyanna, I think we can all see how this is true. Now, don’t get me wrong, I personally don’t believe that God expects us to put everything in His hands, and just let Him solve all of our problems. I think He expects us to help ourselves. But, ultimately, God “has this”. He “has our back”. So, worrying about things really can be viewed as a lack in faith. That’s certainly something to pray over and ponder.
Now, the second response: an exclamation of “How BIG is our God!”. This response, for me, is a joyous declaration. God loves us and has such compassion for us that he brings back to life a widow’s only son. And there are literally millions of examples of God’s “bigness” in which to glory and exclaim: The oceans and mountains; a newborn baby; a symphony by Beethoven; people recovering from addiction; a perfectly cooked meal! These are just a few examples to the exclamation of “How BIG is our God!” And again, how does this realization, this exclamation of God’s “bigness” live within me? Probably not often enough and certainly not with as much fullness and appreciation as it should. But, as they say, “there’s no time like the present”.
So, here we are, in the present. As we leave our time of worship this Sunday, let’s try and keep the question, and the exclamation, in our hearts. As we go about our busy lives; as we drive the kids to their soccer game or music lesson; as we care for our ailing parent or spouse; as we do the 4th load of laundry in one day; as we sit through another seemingly endless meeting, let’s remember to have the faith of the question “How big is our God?” and the joy of our exclamation “How big is our God!” in our hearts and on our lips.