Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Two weeks running, my church's Sunday sermon has touched on the idea that "the reason most of us are worriers is that we see God as no bigger than our biggest problem." My own"problem with problems" isn't so much their individual weight as their combined volume. Lately it seems that something new goes wrong every day: an unexpected expense pops up just as a client hits tough financial times and can't pay a bill on schedule; a much-anticipated appointment cancels at the last minute because something important came up; I remember almost too late that I need extra input for a project and then my potential source gets huffy because I asked on such short notice. At least once a week, I was grumbling that God may be bigger than our problems, but He doesn't seem to be nearly as visible.

I thought it was His responsibility to step directly into my line of vision. It was some time before I considered that maybe I was looking in the wrong direction. Or that maybe I found problems more visible because--like a bird watcher who has her binoculars set for a clear view of a house sparrow ten feet away and then complains that the eagle soaring overhead is a blurry speck--I was too lazy to "adjust my focus" for the better vision.

Actually, human nature is so self-centered that it hardly needs an obvious problem to get itself, God, and the world out of perspective. Each of us is prone to one of two wrong attitudes toward everyday life. On one side stand the worriers and the workaholics, desperately trying to anticipate and head off everything that might spoil their plans; on the other side are the egotists who confidently assert that the human race is smart enough to deal with anything.

Both sides (and, sadly, both include a fair number of Christians) have the same root issue: thinking of themselves and/or humanity in general as responsible for "getting things right." If God gets factored into the equation at all, He is seen as a 911 number to be ignored during everyday concerns and called on only in direst emergency. When the emergency comes, it's not surprising that we can see it better than we can see God--because it's standing directly between us and what we'd already put in front of God.

Many of our problems really are bigger than we are. So if we also see them as bigger than God, we've likely gotten into the habit of seeing ourselves as bigger than God.

We may boast as we learn to treat cancer
And to stretch a life's total span;
But each human breath and each day of death
Are still subject to God's own plan.

We may think ourselves masters of science
Who could probe the most distant sun;
But each star was lit, and each orbit set,
By the Only Eternal One.

We may think we are brilliant achievers
If we guess where the snow will fall;
But the sun, the rain, and the hurricane
Are all still at God's beck and call.

We are constantly learning and dreaming,
And predicting a day when we
May see nature's all at our beck and call:
"Then," we think, "just like gods we'll be."

Since that line worked its mischief on Adam,
The appeal of its siren call
Has wrecked countless souls on the rocky shoals
Known as Pride and as I Am All.

But if you would be someone important--
Truly wish to achieve your best--
Turn away from pride, and let God inside,
For His servants alone are blessed!

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