While rummaging through the attic of my childhood memories, I came across something that both comforted and convicted me — my theology as a child. My understanding about God was nurtured by my grandparents. I was never at a loss for questions about God, especially on those evenings when we would sit and talk on their front porch. I could sense their wonder as they helped me to understand my own wonder about God.
Gazing up at the stars, I would often barrage them with questions: How big is God? When was He born? Does God have a mom and dad? How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time? — these questions and many more about God.
Their answers to some questions and inability to answer others helped me to develop an awareness of the bigness of God.
Reflecting on my childhood years led me to conclude that God was unquestionably big when I was small. The fact that I had questions about God that my grandparents could not really answer or explain did not diminish my wonder or estimation of God’s bigness. These unanswered questions, in fact, contributed to my appreciation of the fact that God is indeed much bigger than my capacity to comprehend.
I think that David must have felt the same way when he wrote Psalm 139. As he contemplated what God knows about us and how little we really can comprehend about Him, he concluded, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high; I cannot attain to it” (Ps. 139:6).
The prophet Isaiah expressed the same sentiment: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).
Children, it seems, generally have a greater grasp of the bigness of God. At what point, then, do we begin to lose our grip on what is one of the most fundamental teachings of the Scriptures?
Why is it that as we get bigger, God tends to get smaller?
As we leave childhood behind, it seems that life’s increasing complexities easily overwhelm and distract us from considering the God who is so big that He is never overwhelmed by anything at all.
Years ago I came across an interesting story about an entomological study that concluded roaches are smarter than earthworms but dumber than bees. This study of relative intelligence in the world of bugs started me thinking about how easy it is for us to think that we are smarter than God. How often do big people think that they have God all figured out or have no need of Him?
As for me, I want to hold tightly to the wonderful wonder about God that I had when I was a kid. There have been many times I felt dumber than earthworms, but I am smart enough to know that I will never be smarter than God.
The reality is that regardless of how big I get I will never be bigger than God. As the Creator of the universe reminded Job in the dramatic discourse recorded in Job 38, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Good question. Easy answer.
May we never become so big or arrogant that we allow God to become smaller as a result. He is bigger than our minds can comprehend and yet intimately acquainted with the smallest details of our lives. He set the planets in place and yet values us above these celestial bodies.
When we try to reduce God to something small then we ultimately lose. Isaiah may have summed it up best when he wrote that God inhabits eternity (57:15).
He is indeed a big God. May we always approach Him with the faith, humility, and wonder of a child.