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Pastors Column: Big God

Friday, July 13, 2012

The story is told about Princeton Seminary professor Robert Dick Wilson:

One day, one of Dr. Wilson's former students was invited to preach at the Seminary chapel. Dr. Wilson came and sat near the front. When chapel ended, the old professor came up to his former student, cocked his head to one side in his characteristic way, extended his hand, and said, "I'm glad that you're a big-godder. When my boys come back, I come to see if they're big-godders or little-godders. Then I know what their ministry will be."

His former student asked him to explain. Wilson replied, "Well, some men have a little God, and they're always in trouble with Him. He can't do any miracles. He can't take care of the inspiration and transmission of the Scripture to us. He doesn't intervene on behalf of His people. Then, there are those who have a great God. He speaks and it is done. He commands and it stands fast. He knows how to show Himself strong on behalf of them that fear Him. You have a great God; and He'll bless your ministry." He paused a moment, smiled, said, "God bless you," and turned and walked out.

I want to be a big-godder.

I'm currently preaching on the book of Habakkuk. It's a profound little book that really wrestles with the issue of suffering and evil. Habakkuk pours out his heart and his complaints to God, and God answers. It never really explains why suffering exists, but it points us to faith in a big God who is still in control, no matter how bad our circumstances appear.

It's at that point that many modern skeptics have a problem. If God were really all-powerful, they say, then He'd do something about all the tragedy and torment in the world. Since there is still suffering though, they conclude that there are certain things that are simply beyond God's control -- if He exists at all.

I take small comfort, however, in believing in God who is helpless in the face of certain events. Was my father's cancer beyond God's control? Was the miscarriage of my first child a problem too big for God to prevent? Was the attack on the World Trade Center a surprise to God? If so, then why believe in God at all? What hope is there that He can make anything good out of any of those circumstances?

Sure, believing in a big God still leaves me with some big questions. I do my best to study His word and learn as much as He has chosen to reveal to me. But when suffering comes my way, and I simply don't understand why, I remember these two things: 1) God doesn't have to explain Himself to me, and 2) God is much wiser than I am.

In the end, I'd rather believe in a big God who is in control of everything that happens to me (even the bad stuff) and has a plan to work in all things for my good (Romans 8:28); than to believe in a little God who is simply doing the best He can.

I want to be a big-godder.

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Great stuff, Pastor Russell! :)

-- Posted by PastorKevin on Fri, Jul 13, 2012, at 11:18 AM

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