My God Was Too Small

“To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name, because God is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.” Isaiah 40:25-26

Anyone who knows me well, knows I like organization. I color code and categorize my closet, my pantry is separated by types, and my days begin with lists of tasks to complete. I like order. While I have always called myself organized, others around me may find it a bit off-putting and on a bad day, they might find me controlling.

And if there is anything that I have learned during this pandemic and in these days of re-examining my thoughts on race in this nation, I have re-discovered that I have no control over anything, except my thoughts, attitudes, and actions. And I am learning, when I choose to open myself up to reflection, these days are becoming a time of deep spiritual reckoning that is leading to rivers of change in me.

Why is this? I have discovered that when I let go of whatever illusion of control, I may have thought I had, there becomes a wide space for God to work. I can open my heart and mind to learning new things, to challenging my assumptions about the world, and even my beliefs about God.

Many years ago, J.B. Phillips wrote a little book entitled, Your God is Too Small. In it, he challenged our Sunday School assumptions about God. I have learned that most of us, including myself, carry the vestiges of a child-like faith that have never been fully examined.

During this time, I have learned that my beliefs about my ability to control my environment had also crept into my theology. When I thought I was in control, I could almost believe that I was self-sufficient. And so, God had shrunk to the limits of where I would allow God to be in my world.

But during this critical time, I have journeyed with friends into contemplation and prayer. This community is holding me in this growing period. The quiet is teaching me to question my assumptions. Silence is instructing me to listen more carefully. Listening to other’s stories, without a need to comment is opening my eyes to their life experiences. Reflection is leading my heart to deeper compassion. I don’t think I’m the only one who needs a bigger God for times like these.

Rev. Dr. Deb Kaiser-Cross
Minister for Congregational Care

For those in our circles who are suffering in body, mind, or spirit:
Loving God, we are grateful for the countless ways you nudge us – sometimes gently and sometimes firmly – into opportunities for growth. You do your greatest work amid our toughest challenges. As we begin to embrace new attitudes and behaviors, you have a way of taking us out of our comfort zone and leading us into wide-open spaces that can feel scary and overwhelming. Empower us to see you in your fullness, as you lead us into the broad expanses of a new chapter of life. Help us to be brave enough to try ‘different,’ as we follow in the ways of Jesus.