Have you ever been guilty of making your God too small?
Consider my cyber-hand raised. It’s really easy to forget that God is so much bigger than us, our concerns and our world.
Just hold on you hyper-spiritualists who say, “Not I! I never underestimate God.” Just take your pious selves back to your pew and sing a hymn or something, because you’re wrong. How can I be so bold you may ask?
The Bible says so… nini nini boo boo (don’t you love the classy argumentation offered here in this blog).
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Eph 3:20-21). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Did you see it? According to the Bible God is able to do more than we ask or IMAGINE. This means no one really has a grip on the bigness and capabilities of God. I saw this really displayed in reading Acts 3 this week.
Check out this story and then let’s talk about the bigness of God:
Peter Heals the Crippled Beggar
3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.�
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ac 3:1-10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan
The key to this story if the word “expectation.”
Check out the unnamed crippled guy here. Being disabled from birth he had probably settled into his existence as permanent, hopeless as it was. He was carried to the gate called Beautiful everyday because that’s where the daily worshippers would be feeling generous, or at least a little guilty, and might cough up a little extra before speaking with the ALMIGHTY. He was there that day with no expectations beyond what happened the day before, the week before, the month before, the year before, the decade before…
Enter Peter and John. A couple of things happen out the norm here that should have been a clue to this guy that things were different:
1. Peter and John looked at him. Normally he would have been passed by completely ignored, and even if a gift was given it would have been flippantly flopped as the giver passed by nose in the air.
2. The beggar was commanded to look at them! This act alone took the encounter from random act of kindness to introduction of personal relationship. Not exactly a common occurrence there in Jerusalem’s skid row.
I love verse 5, “So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something for them.”
The problem is that he was expecting waaaaaaayyyy too little. Was he looking for leftovers from Peter’s lunch? Was he expecting John to flip him a nickel? Or, was he hoping to land the big fish from an extra guilt-ridden giver and close up shop early that day?
Who knows, but I seriously doubt he was expecting what he got.
Pete invokes the name of Jesus, grabs this guy by the hand and yanks him to his feet… by the way, that’s the first time this ever happened for this guy.
This beggar went from “Alms? Alms for the poor sir?” to “Alm-ighty God! I have feet… I’m kinda tall… and wow… I can dance… I’ve got rhythm….”
When I look at this guy and his story I am reminded that I serve a God who can do more than I ask or imagine. I am convicted that I have mentally and spiritually restricted God to being small in the confines of my personally zoned universe.
How many times have I prayed for a crumb when God wanted to lay out of feast?
How many times have I been obedient hoping to stave off the wrath of God when He wants to build the Kingdom on people like me?
How many times have I preached a message hoping people would think I was funny and that I’d leave a good taste in their mouth for the gospel, when God wanted funnel in the Living Water of Jesus Christ and change them in that instant for ever?
God forgive us for making you a part of our world and confining you to the far too small confines of our imagination. Help us to release our own limitations to you and start living with the expectations that we have no idea what to expect from You.
When this guy got his feet under him (literally) he starts to walk and leap around praising God. He was doing the Holy Spirit Hop, He went jack rabbit for Jesus!
What’s really cool is he was doing this in the temple. Man, I bet that peeved some people off.
But, who cares? When God shows up that large in your world, you don’t live your life for others anymore.
What are your hopes for your marriage? Too small.
What are your plans for your future? Not even close.
What hope is there to get past your past? Just the beginning.
What is the reality of your dreams really happening? It’s beyond all you can think or imagine.
Arise and walk… it’s time to dance!