OKIE IN EXILE — The God of tiny little things
When my kids were young and my wife was teaching Sunday School, they taught the kids a new song. It was supposed to go, “My God is a great big God / Big enough to save me / Big enough to keep me.” I had some reservations because the last line seemed to deny free will. I needn’t have worried. The children learned the final couplet as “Big enough to save me / Big enough to eat me.”
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, they say.
Perhaps the quasi-Calvanistic turn of the last line shouldn’t’ve bothered me as much on the emphasis on “Bigness.” God is big in whatever sense that is meaningful for God, but God is also small. While a God that is big enough to save us is comforting to a small child who feels so vulnerable in the world, the world is saved by small things.
This morning I am sitting on my new patio. My wife and I built it one paver at a time. It is sitting on a bed of sand. I am sitting under an oak tree that my middle daughter brought home in a plastic cup from the second or third grade. It is shading me with its leaves, each of which only measures a few square inches. The tree itself grew to its current height bit by bit over the course of two decades. Each of its cells is a tiny universe unto itself that we are only beginning to understand.
Without the tiny cells, the tree is nothing and I am being burned to a crisp in the mid-morning sun.
I’ve been writing a lot lately about my landscaping. My latest efforts have been built over the moldering remains of what I attempted 20 or more years ago. The results are much better this time. What has happened?
Well, I’ve gotten better at landscaping.
This is not because I’ve laid a lot of pavers over the decades. I have not. My early efforts at shaping the earth into a place more agreeable to me were not so successful as to encourage practice. Instead, years of frustration combined with prayer (and I consider writing to be a form of prayer) have created a certain reserve of patience within me.
Patience is the bridle upon our spirit that keeps us from rushing ahead too fast. Patience allows us to map out paths within our world.
And patience, as is fitting, is not built overnight. Patience is built tiny bit by tiny bit as we receive God’s grace through the things we do. God exists within the tiny things.
We have the means of grace that the church has mapped out, and I am not for a moment saying anyone should abandon those. But through prayer and the tiny things you do during the day every day, God’s grace can change you.
Neither am I saying that God isn’t as big as the largest supercluster of galaxies. He is big enough to save you; He’s even big enough to eat you. But He’s also small enough to do what needs to be done.
Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like'' the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Search for him by name on YouTube.