When we are small and God is big
When is the last time you felt small? Standing on the beach watching the ocean? Laying outside at night looking up at thousands of stars? Our lives feel rather “large” most of the time because they are our ever-present reality. But once in a while, something jars us from our usual rhythm of life and we realize just how tiny we are in the universe. Scripture also has a way of reordering our view in this way; read Paul’s words from Romans 8.
Scripture: Romans 8:18-28 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently).
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Paul is reminding us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves—God’s creation! Yes, for now, we suffer. We have trials, struggles, illnesses, and aggravations. And Paul is saying we are part of the creation which waits for God to make these things right. We are part of something bigger.
Not only is the problem bigger than us, thankfully the solution is too! We, evangelical Christians in the Western world, have become accustomed to an individualized gospel. Preachers preach to save individual souls but the Bible’s idea of salvation is so much bigger than that. Here Paul promises that “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” How refreshing is it to know that God’s plan is so much bigger than us? That we can be saved as part of Christ’s Church and part of God’s creation; this was never just about you and me. It has always been about God restoring what God made, to make it beautiful, good, right, and perfect.
Almighty God, who offered your Son for the salvation of the world and the redemption of all creation, give us perspective. Let us put our suffering in terms of the world’s suffering, and let us put our hope in terms of your master work of healing and deliverance. Help us to never forget that while we are so small, you are bigger even than our wildest dreams. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.