The Word Among Us

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How Big Is God?

Big enough to handle anything!

By: Gary Zimak

How Big Is God?: <em>Big enough to handle anything!</em> by Gary Zimak

If you want to get an idea of God’s power, the Bible is a great place to start.

Over and over again, throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see evidence of God’s power over the enemies of his people and the forces of nature. These examples of his power help give us the confidence we need to face life’s challenges without fear. The bigger our God, the smaller our problems.

In the Beginning. There’s no better place to begin than in the beginning: the Book of Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1. Our God is so big that his greatness is evident from the first words of Sacred Scripture:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)

The idea of creating something out of nothing is a tough concept to grasp, and for good reason. It’s impossible for a human being to do. Yes, a painter can create a beautiful portrait, but he must make use of brushes, paint, and canvas. In a similar way, a composer cannot write a song without using musical notes, and contractors can’t build new houses without using preexisting materials and tools. Only God can create something out of nothing.

In addition to giving us a glimpse into the enormity of God’s creative power, the first three verses of the Bible force us to confront an extremely challenging concept. In order for God to create the heavens and the earth at the beginning of time, he had to exist prior to that time. In other words, there was never a time when God did not exist. He had no beginning and will have no end. He simply is, always was, and always will be.

Rather than trying to understand a concept beyond human reasoning, I recommend that you accept it as an illustration of his awesome power. He always existed, operates outside of time, and created light—and everything else—simply by speaking the words.

When faced with a major problem, I frequently meditate on the creation story, borrowing the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “Ah Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

I’ve had many days when my problems seemed too hard to solve. How about you? Fortunately, we have a heavenly Father for whom nothing is too hard. Keep that in mind whenever you start to feel hopeless. Whatever it is, God can handle it.

At War with Giants. Have you ever come face-to-face with a giant problem? I know I have: COVID-19, unemployment, loneliness, serious illness, and so on. Your problems may differ from mine, but I’m sure you’ve encountered your share of seemingly insurmountable ones. It’s quite possible that you are staring at one right now.

David knew what it was like to stand face-to-face with a giant. He also knew the confidence that came from going into battle under the protection of almighty God. The Philistines were a constant thorn in the side of the Israelites. In fact, their armies clashed on several occasions. A valley lay between the two armies, as they faced each other on opposite hills. Suddenly, Goliath, who stood nine feet tall, issued a challenge to Israel’s army:

“Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philis′tine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” (17:8-9)

Upon hearing the taunts of Goliath, the Bible tells us, King Saul and the Israelites were “dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11). As a result, they failed to respond to his challenge, and for forty days, Goliath continued to strut defiantly before the Israelite army. Finally, David, the youngest son of a man named Jesse, heard the taunts of Goliath. Offended that the Philistine would “defy the armies of the living God” and terrorize the soldiers, David approached King Saul with a courageous offer: “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philis′tine” (1 Samuel 17:26, 32).

Citing David’s young age and lack of experience, the king rejected the offer. It certainly makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re going to choose one man to square off against a giant warrior, you would pick someone powerful, not a young man whose main work experience was taking care of his father’s sheep. But David persisted:

Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth; and if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philis′tine shall be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philis′tine. (1 Samuel 17:34-37)

The king finally relented and sent the youthful warrior into battle. Insulted by the Israelite army’s representative and the fact that David’s weapon of choice was a slingshot, Goliath let loose with a barrage of threats. David confidently replied with words that can strengthen us when facing our own giants:

You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philis′tines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand. (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

With the help of the Lord, David was able to slay Goliath and emerge victorious. On seeing the death of their mighty warrior, the Philistine army turned and fled.

That’s what happens when you go into battle with God on your side. He hasn’t lost a battle yet. Keep this in mind as you look up at your giants today. You may feel outmatched by the enormity of your problems, but you have God on your side.

I want to alert you to a surprising manifestation of this common obstacle. Believe it or not, we sometimes cause this problem by the way we pray. As an example, suppose you notice an unusual lump on your neck one day. Your doctor believes that it is an enlarged lymph node and sends you for a biopsy to determine if you are suffering from lymphoma. Believing in the power of prayer, you decide to pray about it.

You could say something like “Lord, you can do all things. Please let the biopsy be negative” or “Please don’t let me have cancer.” You could also pray in a more specific way, such as, “Lord, please don’t let me have cancer. If I do, I might need to have chemotherapy, and my hair may fall out. And what if the treatment makes me so sick that I start to lose weight and have to take time off from work? They might fire me, and then I won’t be able to pay my bills. We could end up homeless. If this is cancer, I could die. If that happens, what will my children do? Oh, please, Lord. Please, please, please, don’t let this turn out bad. I won’t be able to handle it.”

Do you see how the second way of praying could cause you to lose confidence in God and fear the possibility of a potentially life-threatening, but still undiagnosed, disease? By all means, bring your concerns to God, but sometimes it’s better to gloss over some of the details. God really does know what you mean. Instead of spending all your prayer time talking to God about how big your problems are, spend time talking to your problems about how big your God is.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength. (Isaiah 40:28-29)

Looking Back, Looking Ahead. Although it’s impossible to fully grasp the power of God, it is possible to acquire some degree of understanding. Look for signs in Scripture and in the world of God’s ability to do all things. The more we understand what he can do, the less afraid we will be when confronted with the problems of life.

God loves you, God is with you, and God is bigger than your problems. These concepts are so important that failing to grasp them will make it impossible to move forward in your relationship with God. Ask him to help you better understand how much he loves you. He wants to help you recognize his presence at all times and understand just how powerful he really is. Ask him, too to send his Holy Spirit to awaken you to his powerful presence and allow you to feel his love.

This is an excerpt from Journey With God, by Gary Zimak (The Word Among Us Press, 2021), available at www.wau.org/books.

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