Tuesday, May 06, 2008

God's Greatness is Far Beyond our Finite Comprehension

I was thinking the other night of the over-arching attributes of God that I find very comforting: His eternality, His perfection, His infinity. Those are what I picture as being His biggest features. Of course, the fact that He is good is vital to all of this, but I suppose that fits into His perfection. If God were any less than any of these, we would be insecure; He would not be the God He is, and there would be gaps in His divinity. How secure we are, though! We can rely entirely on Him because there is nothing in Him that can or will fail. He will not fail Himself, and He will not fail us. We will fail ourselves and Him, but the reverse can never be true.
Surely the biggest inadequacy we have as humans is the capacity to comprehend God's greatness, the absolute nature of His attributes. We who claim to trust Him can't trust Him as well as we should, because our capacity is so small. We don't understand fully, we don't know fully, we don't even seek fully to know what we could about God, if we would only try. And we forget His faithfulness of times past. We are like grass, we are like little flowers that shrivel and die and are blown away, and He is like the great sky and the sun and the wind and the soil that surround us and stretch on past our ability to perceive, and all we tap into is the part that touches us. So we think of Him as much smaller than He is, much less eternal, much less perfect, much less infinite, much less holy and loving and good, and we think our finite thoughts of Him are great because they are bigger than ourselves (hopefully!).
He doesn't condemn us for being so finite. He just works with us, molding, teaching, and stretching us, helping us to understand so we can fathom a little of His glory and glorify Him in what we can. He tells us that He is beyond us, that His capacities are beyond what we ask or think or imagine. No wonder that Paul wrote through the inspirational power of the Holy Spirit:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

How can we come to know Him in such a way? Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Reading God's word will enrich our knowledge of Him. In Jeremiah 33:3, He says, "Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know." What better resource do we have than going directly to Him? And yet He makes Himself known indirectly as well; in Psalm 19:1 He tells us, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." He even uses frail humanity to help us! In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." Which also is an exhortation to follow Him closely if only for the sake of those who might be following us. I am thankful that we have good examples to follow these days! It isn't everywhere you find a person who truly lives out what he says he believes, but we know and can point to some; maybe too few for how many people we know overall, but God has provided us with good examples that give us plenty to emulate. God is great! Even our own life circumstances teach us to trust in our great God. I think of one of my favorite verses, Psalm 119:71, "It is good for me that I was afflicted,That I may learn Your statutes." God wastes nothing!
I will be praying today that I might go beyond my present ability to understand who He is and to love who He is and obey who He is, by His grace, through the riches of resources that He has provided...to God be the glory! As you see, there is plenty to learn and to put into practice.

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