As most Christians in the United States are forced to worship God virtually during the coronavirus pandemic – watching (and hopefully, still engaging) over the internet – it can lead to a view of a very small God. One Who fits comfortably in our homes as well as our limited understanding. Even when we are worshipping in churches with dozens or hundreds of others, this can happen.
I’ve attended church almost every week since I was a young child. I’ve read the Bible many times; a couple times, even reading it straight through in a year (or so). And to be honest, it can be easy to become complacent when it comes how I think about God in general, and even during worship. It’s not that I purposely take God for granted, or take worship lightly. But in the familiarity of things (like songs, or Bible passages, or liturgy of a worship service), I can easily forget just how big God is.
My church spends time in worship each week to confess sins and receive forgiveness. But to be honest, I don’t marvel at God’s mercy or feel the tremendous relief of the lifting of guilt or shame that a new Christian experiences who has just realized God’s forgiveness. But I should.
People sometimes ask questions that are difficult to answer, like “If God is all-loving, why is there suffering in the world?” I’m sure there are many people who are wondering why God would allow a pandemic to happen. The answer is not that God is limited; He is all-knowing and all-powerful. But God is also mysterious; there are things we won’t know on this side of heaven, and He is not obligated to explain it to us (not that we would even understand the explanation). “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
God is also more loving and patient than we can fully grasp, because on our best day, our patience and capacity for loving others is still limited. At the same time, He is a “consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24), “who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person” (Zechariah 12:1) If you’ve forgotten just how big God is, try reading Job chapters 38-41.
Nothing catches God by surprise, and nothing is too big for God. Whether it’s something you individually are dealing with, or a worldwide pandemic, God is bigger. We just have to remember how big God really is.