It’s a week where multiple out of control things have crossed our path – a scary diagnosis, an uncontrollable wildfire, difficulty among relationships.
Out of control being the key phrase. I can’t change hearts. I can’t send rain. I can’t heal someone’s body.
In trials, tempting emotions are fear, worry, disappointment, or hopelessness, but an even greater call than those is the call to look at God.
To gaze at God is another way of saying: remember God! (Which is another way of saying “look away from you and your resources and look to your Father.”) We must go beyond acknowledging His existence and step higher into His nature.
God is vastly different than we are. He doesn’t need sleep or nourishment. He isn’t surprised by circumstances. He doesn’t need to learn new facts. He is present in yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is sovereign over every rain drop, sickness, activity, problem, and occasion. Not only is His power limitless, unrivaled by anything on earth, He is purely good and perfectly kind, never changing.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3
Our view of the Trinity must be higher and greater than our view of what is around us or inside of us.
To widen, deepen, and lengthen this vision of God, we need Scripture. If we don’t learn who He is from His Word, we unintentionally live considering God like we consider ourselves.
I write this from personal experience. My view of God was small, human-like, resulting in a distorted view of His nature, producing anxiety and pride, instead of blood-bought identity and new life. But He’s gracious in not leaving us in our natural patterns of thinking, but continually renewing us to holier ones.
In her book None Like Him, Jen Wilkin says this:
Image-bearing means becoming fully human, not becoming divine. It means reflecting as a limited being the perfections of a limitless God. Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord. They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God. When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never flags. When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out.
Find comfort in this: God is an expert on you. He knows every detail, past and future, of every circumstance, joyous or sorrowful, in your life. We remember Psalm 139:1-6, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”
He is an expert on every heart. We cannot change people, no matter how passionately we desire peace, restoration, or maturity for them. This is God’s domain. We pray His great grace in another’s life, and encourage them toward His Word however we can.
To admit the existence of a need in God is to admit incompleteness in the divine Being. Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator. God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no Necessary relation to anything outside of Himself. His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure, not from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in himself. A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
One of my favorite attributes of God is His self-existence / self-sufficiency.
He needs nothing, but chooses to give us everything in His Son. He needs not our strength, wisdom, or right living to be God. In Jesus is our life. Like Tozer remarks, His interest in us is rooted in His goodness.
Our greatest need has been dealt with once and for all. How much more will he supply all our lesser needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus? So set aside the plate-spinning, ball-juggling, pink bunny idolatry of self-sufficiency. Only God is self-sufficient. Only God has no needs. You have them, and so does your neighbor. Be quick to praise God for how unlike you he is in this. Be quick to confess to him your tendency to trust your own resources rather than acknowledge him as your provider. Be quick to confess your needs to him and ask him to meet them. Jen Wilkin
In Colossians 1:16-17, we see that “in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Regardless of how messy and out of sorts life may feel, everything is held together by its Creator. No scary circumstance is outside His reach. No challenging relationship is off His radar. He sees all, and there is no circumstance or relationship He cannot redeem.
Oftentimes, we don’t need to be taught how to fight. It comes naturally to us to busy ourselves with fixing problems, to push back shame when we encounter our own lack, and to bury any remnant of struggle so we can appear strong, but heavens, if we would let God be God. If we could rest in all the ways He is different than us, I have no doubt we would discover peace and confidence in the midst of any storm.
Why? Because instead of loading our shoulders with every outcome, we could put it in His willing arms to bear, and walk beside Him, beloved and steadfast.
Jesus tells us via Matthew 11 to come, take His yoke instead, and learn from Him.
In his book Rejoicing in Christ, Michael Reeves writes about these verses: “Jesus’ relationship with his Father shapes the rest, yoke and burden he has to offer. In fact, his relationship with his Father is the rest, yoke and burden he has to offer. To know the Father, to be humble before him and gentle like him: that is the rest we all seek, the only yoke that is easy, the only burden that is light.”
Lord, you have always been our eternal home, our hiding place from generation to generation. Long before you gave birth to the earth and before the mountains were born, you have been from everlasting to everlasting, the one and only true God. Psalm 90:1-2
We are in Christ, welcomed into the sonship of Christ and His Father by Holy Spirit. A soul filled with deep, wide, and long thoughts of God will be strong, and will joyfully remain close to Him. Andrew Murray encourages us to “be much occupied with Jesus, and believe much in Him.”
It is His glory that endures forever, and nothing can separate us from Him. As we continue on, one step of faith at a time, it becomes our true delight to live for Him. He holds tightly to us, we must keep our eyes on Him.
With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures. A.W. Tozer