Photo: Unsplash

More Than Meets the Eye

Every morning when I get up, I ask myself two questions: First, is God as worried as I am? If the answer is yes, then I cancel my agenda for the day ’cause it’s all over. But if the answer is no, I ask the second question: Then why am I worried?

by Richard Swenson, MD
Today's Christian Doctor - Spring 2006

Every morning when I get up, I ask myself two questions: First, is God as worried as I am? If the answer is yes, then I cancel my agenda for the day ’cause it’s all over. But if the answer is no, I ask the second question: Then why am I worried?

Let me tell you a secret: God’s not worried. He’s not pacing the throne room of heaven popping Valium. Yet He must have known we’d have our share of stress and frustration, that we’d have bad days and economic problems and relational turmoil.

So to help us out He gave some advice: don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t be anxious, don’t be afraid, do not fret. (Matthew 6:34, Philippians 4:6-7, John 14:27, Psalm 37:1-8). Interesting: God says don’t, but we do it anyway.

God knows how much power and precision He has; how He acts in history whenever it suits His purposes to do so; how He’s never lost a battle. So, don’t worry. Just find His will and stay there.

We’ve heard this before, but somehow we just can’t believe it. We can’t believe that a God this great would bother with the complicated details of our small lives. But that’s not what the Bible says, nor history. The Bible says God cares for us, and history says God came for us.

David wrote: “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving” (Psalm 62:11-12). That both strong and loving came packaged together was not necessarily a given. It was simply our good fortune that this powerful, precise, and brilliant God is also compassionate, intimate, and personal.

God knew us even before He formed our frame. He realizes we are “dust” and knows that we are frail. He knows every word before it’s on our tongue. He knows the thoughts of our mind and the intents of our heart. As it turns out, we’re not just some science project for a rainy day in Heaven but instead, a creative effort treasured by the Father.

When we see Him clearly and understand His heart in these matters, we have more faith in His power and less anxiety about our circumstances. Our own frailty and finiteness seem less bothersome when we realize that we were designed by a God who can count to infinity backwards, can recite the Encyclopaedia Britannica in every known human language in a trillionth of a second, can speak to the void and have 1050 tons show up.

If we have trouble understanding such things, perhaps we should reflect more on the meaning of the words infinite and sovereign.

Jesus Revealed

One way to remind ourselves that God is both powerful and personal is to look again at the life of Christ. Let’s rewind the videotape four thousand years, back to a time when people knew little about God. The Almighty, shrouded in mystery, called Abram’s name and led him to a new land. As a result, Abraham knew more about God than those before him. Moses heard God speak in a burning bush, witnessed the miracles of the plagues, received the commandments, felt the mountain tremble, and saw God’s glory. Then he wrote it all down, and we began to understand God better: that He was awesome and righteous, that He was concerned with justice, and that He loved us.

Four hundred years later, God promised David an eternal kingdom, and the plan of a Messiah began to emerge out of the mystery surrounding God. A millennium passed. Then, in the greatest unveiling of mystery since creation, a baby was born. That event changed everything. One of the most amazing mysteries of the universe is the incarnation—Christ becoming a human baby. How did the infinite God inhabit a finite physical body? It would be easier to fit the Pacific Ocean into a thimble than for the Infinite to become Mary’s baby. How did He do it? By emptying Himself.

With the birth of Christ, God now lived and breathed in our midst, walked and worked at our side. It was impossible to conceal that there was something different about this Man. By allowing the world to see Jesus directly, God opened a window. Now we could glimpse all the way into the eternal.

Those who surrounded Christ were consistently amazed and overwhelmed—seeing His miracles, hearing His wisdom, feeling His compassion. Here was irresistible evidence of the nature of God—a Deity who could cure illness, conquer death, and rule time, space, and matter. Jesus was unjustly accused, wrongly condemned, and brutally crucified. Yet when He climbed back out of the grave, He wasn’t even mad. What kind of messiah was this?

Science Revealed

The people who lived at the time of Christ enjoyed a special privilege: they looked God in the eye. While we do not have that physical proximity to Jesus, we have one advantage earlier people lacked—the new revelations of science. While science hardly compares to the physical presence of Jesus or the special guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit, it does provide an advantage in spiritual perspective previous generations could hardly have imagined.

God has allowed us the privilege of living in a time when great mysteries are being uncovered. No previous era knew about relativity, subatomic particles, quantum mechanics, supernovas, ageless photons, or DNA. These all reveal the stunning genius of a God who spoke a time-space-matter-light universe into existence, balanced it with impossible requirements of precision, and then gifted it with life.

Does it not stir your heart to realize that in a millionth of a second, a trillion atoms in your body turn over—and yet somehow God makes it work? Does it not deepen your reverence to realize that God is more impressive than a magnetic cloud ten million miles in diameter careening through space at a million miles an hour? Or a neutron star that weighs a billion tons per teaspoon?

Does it not give you pause to think that of the ten thousand trillion (1016) words spoken by humans since the dawn of time, God heard every one, remembers every one, can recite them all backwards from memory, and even knew them before they were spoken?

The truths of Scripture, the life of Christ, the discoveries of science—all should combine to lift us heavenward. Yet we remain strangely anxious. Our days are swamped by the mundane; our nights are swallowed by insomnia. Seldom do we know true restedness. Yet God would tell us, “Be still before me; wait patiently. Trust in me, and I will give you rest.”

We know that God is out there, that He sees and cares. But we are still tempted to run our lives independently, often consulting Him only for crises or trivialities. Yet God would tell us, “Don’t you know that I care more about you than a hundred billion galaxies? That I work in your life on a thousand levels all at the same time?”

The more we understand about God’s power, the less we worry about our weakness. The more we trust in God’s sovereignty, the less we fret about our future. “Oh, that we might learn the undefeatedness of God!” said Watchman Nee. Only then will we rest under a full awareness of His dominion.

Annie Dillard got it right: “Week after week [in our churches] we witness the same miracle: that God is so mighty He can stifle His own laughter...Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke?”

What kind of Power do we so blithely invoke? He spoke the universe into existence. Nothingness obeys His voice. He created all, rules over all, holds all things together. He controls time, space, matter, and light. He monitors the position of every elementary particle. He scattered 1020 stars across the universe. He compressed 1028 atoms into our bodies. He keeps it all working and balanced. He made us infinite, not only in the eternal direction but perhaps also in the subatomic direction.

He is sufficient unto Himself. He does not need anybody or anything to accomplish His purposes. He answers to no one. He obeys only His own counsel. He works on thousands of levels all at the same time. His scientific sophistication is unfathomable.

He created the laws of physics and appears to be a “pure mathematician.” His intelligence is so superior, according to Einstein, that in comparison “all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

In the end, sovereignty wins. In the end, glory will be unrestrained. Finally, at long last, God will deliver us from our dimness. And in the shelter of the Most High, we will enter our rest.

Leave a Comment