Lately I have been convicted of making God too small. I am reminded in my weakness how many times I forget His magnitude, His grace, His sovereignty, and His plan above all else that is going on around me. Despite the times I don’t understand how anything good can come out of a situation, He has a plan, and He will make all things good and all things new.
I have been reading through 1st and 2nd Samuel and learning again the story of David, and how he journeyed with God through being anointed as a king, becoming best friends with Jonathan, running for his life from Saul, and mourning and avenging the loss of both Saul and Jonathan. Today I read David’s song after much of the chaos subsided and he sat in awe of God’s greatness and faithfulness to accomplish His purpose for David’s life and reaffirm the promise He established long ago.
Here are just a few stanzas from 2 Samuel 7:
“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?
What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord. Because of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and made them known to your servant.
How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you!” (Verses 18b-22 NLT)
Oh how my heart longs to sing like David, to fully realize the greatness of our God and King and to acknowledge His sovereignty and purpose in my life. He may not have promised me a dynasty quite like David’s, but I get to be a part of His kingdom and His plan—far more valuable than any kingdom created by us here on earth. I definitely have moments like this, where I must just sit in awe because the beauty, majesty and sovereignty of God that smacks me in the face, usually when I least expect it. But I must confess that too often I tend to do the opposite in a moment recovering from crisis like David did. I fall short when I make God smaller than He really is, instead of realizing His great magnitude.
I find myself identifying more with the plight of the Israelites recounted in Psalm 78 where they said:
“Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out,
but he can’t give his people bread and meat.” (Verse 20 NLT)
The rest of the story tells us, they were wrong! Sure, God has proved His greatness to me over and over again, but in my moments of crisis and weakness, even as I cry out to Him in distress, part of me often wonders, “But can he really come through this time?” My eyes strain to see the world the way He sees it. Like Peter in Mark 8, I struggle to see things from God’s perspective rather than leaning on my own human understanding. I’m sure Peter was very confused as Jesus began to talk about His death, so much so that he reprimanded Jesus for talking this way. Peter didn’t know the whole story, he didn’t yet understand that Jesus came to die so that we could live, but in the moment I’m sure it felt like saying, “Wait a minute, we didn’t start following you just so that you could be killed!”
This week, I saw myself questioning the sovereignty of God in a conversation with my friend Julie who has a heart and ministry for premature and malnourished babies in Zambia. We were having dinner on Friday night with some girlfriends and Drew (poor guy!), and she was telling us about some twin babies she learned about that were in critical condition at an orphanage about 8 hours away from us in another province. One of them was in worse shape and had to be treated for dehydration with an IV and Julie was afraid he wouldn’t make it on a bus trip to Lusaka in that condition, but she was also worried that in his rural community there wasn’t much hope for recovery either. In Zambia, Lusaka is essentially where malnourished babies can receive the advanced treatment they often need.
Julie has been one of those friends that shows me painful, but important, parts about living in Zambia. She has walked me down the halls of the malnutrition ward to pray with mothers and their paper-thin children, desperate to give their babies the nutrition they need. She took me to the places she serves in the labor ward where mothers often give birth on mats on the ground, because there are only enough beds for those in critical conditions.
As she told us the story about this little boy, we began wondering if she should ask her supporters for money so she could fly down there and bring him to Lusaka. We then started talking about this struggle in light of the hot topic of the day, Cecil the lion. This story of a man killing a lion in Zimbabwe blew upon social media all over the world. Julie told us that the amount of money spent to hunt that lion was about equal to how much it costs her in a year to take care of premature and malnourished babies at her nonprofit, Zoe’s Hope.
Beyond that, the amount of attention this lion has received is dumbfounding compared to how much attention is paid by a mainstream audience to many of the underlying issues this part of the world is dealing with on a daily basis that actually take away human lives. Aren’t we much more valuable than the birds of the air and the beasts of the field in the eyes of God who created them all?
Though this story does have a bittersweet ending, the answer is of course yes. God sees, He knows, and He is working.
On Sunday morning, we found out that the baby in critical condition, Moses, did not make it. As Julie was telling the story in front of our church, we began praying for her and for the other twin who was still alive, Joseph. By the end of our service, Julie received a text that someone was ready to drive her 8 hours to pick up the other baby, and by the end of the day we received this adorable picture of Joseph:
Julie was able to reach Joseph and is now hoping to bring him down to the malnutrition ward at the national hospital in Lusaka which is most equipped to care for him in this condition.
Let us not make small the awesome and amazing things our God wants to do in our midst. God cares about baby Moses who is with Him in heaven and he cares about baby Joseph who gets a second chance at life here on earth. May we not get discouraged and caught up in the things we think God can’t do, so that we can give Him the glory He deserves. May we stand in awe of the things He is doing now, far better than anything we can ever ask or imagine.