Summary: Is your God big enough to do whatever He wants? For many of us who follow the Lord, we are not certain that God is big enough to do what is needed for us to succeed.

“Then Job answered the LORD and said:

‘I know that you can do all things,

and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

“Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?”

Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,

things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

“Hear, and I will speak;

I will question you, and you make it known to me.”

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

but now my eye sees you;

therefore I despise myself,

and repent in dust and ashes.’” [1]

“Your God is Too Small” is the provocative title of a little book written by Anglican Canon J. B. Phillips over seven decades ago. Canon Phillips was challenging British post-war culture to examine their concepts of God. Consequently, he has challenged all professing Christians since that time with the bold assertion that, “Your God is Too Small!”

Phillips argued that many, perhaps even most, professing Christians held an inadequate conception of God. He was correct! Modern Christians do not have a God who is too big! In fact, we who profess to follow the Son of God have too often crafted a god who is small enough to be handled as we desire. We create a god who is convenient—always there when we need him, but never intrusive. The god we seek does not make us feel badly about our behaviour or our choices; he doesn’t censure us for our self-centred ways—in fact, he builds our esteem. Perhaps the reason we have a god that is small enough to handle is that we have never met the True and Living God.

Professing Christians are often guilty of claiming to believe God, and yet living as though God somehow does not figure in the conduct of life. Let me give a few examples of what I mean. Christians are quick to admit that prayer changes things, that God answers prayer. Then, when trouble arises, the last thing we do is pray. When we do pray, our focus is almost always on attempting to instruct God on the outcome we want rather than trusting that He knows what is best for us.

We who profess our faith in the Son of God speak of the value of our church. We want the benefits of being part of the Community of Faith, but we aren’t willing to invest ourselves into the lives of others. We speak of spiritual gifts, but our focus on those gifts is almost inevitably on how we may be benefitted rather than how we may build up others, how we may encourage others, or how we may comfort others. Our focus is inward, rather than outward. Out goal is to care for ourselves, even though this means that we are neglecting our responsibility to the broader Community of Faith.

We are quick to speak of Jesus as King of life, and then we complain because we can’t do what we want to do. If things aren’t going our way, we’ll just quit serving, even though we know quite well that the church wherein God placed us depends on our participation. I’ve heard this in various iterations throughout the years of my service before the Master. “Well, the church didn’t do what I think they should do. I’ll show them! I’ll just quit giving. I’ll just quit attending services. I’ll become my own church!”

We want a Big God when we are in trouble—a God big enough to deliver us; but we are less enthusiastic about God when that Big God doesn’t act like we think He should. We are deeply offended when the Lord fails to meet our expectations. We grouse and pout and complain, as though we are actually the centre of our universe.

We want God to keep us safe when we are threatened by a silent killer, a pandemic that invades the land. However, we chafe under the enforced isolation, the demand for social distancing, the new rules that keep us from going to our favourite restaurant or compels us to stand on the taped marks that keep us apart from others when we go to the grocery store. Oh, yes, we want God to protect us, but we don’t want to be inconvenienced by the demands placed on us.

We sing, “God Will Take Care of You,” all the while feeling ourselves driven to accumulate things because we know we must take care of our own needs. I’m not arguing that we should not prepare for the inevitable by providing for our family, but I am questioning whether gathering all that fills our attics and garages is necessary for life. I’m growing older, having reached what some call an “advanced age.” I’m at last realising that I don’t really need all that has been accumulated over the years of my life.

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