Immanuel: How a God so Vast can be so Close

immanuel-blogHave you ever stopped to think just how big creation actually is? Just look outside a window. Just the parts of creation that we see with our own eyes are beyond our comprehension, yet it’s such a small sample of how big creation really is. If you’ve had a science class, seen images from space, or checked out that video of Louie Giglio comparing Earth to a golf ball, chances are you have an idea of what I’m talking about. If you haven’t taken time to consider just how massive the expanses of creation are, do it, now!

Once we’ve examined this “bigness”, the greatest take away from this revelation, is how much bigger the Creator of it ALL really is. If you’ve ever felt that your problems, your current circumstances, or debts are too sizeable to manage, you are not alone. However, the problem with this line of thought is it often limits our view of God. When we make our reality larger than life, it typically reduces God to a being much smaller than our worries and fears. I hope we can realize just how small all of these things are in light of size of our Creator. The Psalms do a great job of preaching the limitlessness and massiveness of God.

Psalms 148 tells us that all of Creation in its massiveness, all sing of God’s greatness:

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!

Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together, old men and children!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven” (Psalms 148:1-13, ESV)

In case you missed it, within this Psalms, pretty much all of creation is listed as worshiping God. Galaxies, the Sun, the moon, and all the stars were created By God’s simple command. Our God is in control of the weather, he commands all the creatures of the earth, and the highest heights of our world were shaped by His hands. In response, this Psalms says all of mankind, kings and rulers, young and old, male and female, worship the vastness of their creator. I love the picture this Psalms gives us of our God, and I feel that this image is just the tip of the iceberg.

However, if we are not careful once we grasp the expanses of our God, this fact can make us feel small and distant from Him. After all, if a God is that big and in control of so much, can he really be concerned with each of us on a personal level? While I contend that God passionately wants us to see how big He is, I feel He also would think it is a great tragedy for any of us to feel that His vastness would make us feel disconnected from Him.

Cue, Paul in Acts, preaching one of the greatest sermons in the Gospel’s history:

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since He himself gives to all mankind life, and breath, and everything…” (Acts 17:24-25, ESV)

Again, Paul is reminding us of how much God has created, and how massive He is. Yet, when he brings it home, he brings us to the balance of the message of how big our God really is.

“…He is actually not far from each of us, for “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:27b-28, ESV, emphasis added)

The God who created EVERYTHING, is close to each of us individually, and every move we make, every ounce of our being is through Him.

We are reminded in Paul’s message that our God is not human like us, if He were, He would be too overwhelmed with all that He has to keep up with. I have a wife, two daughters, and serve as an associate Pastor of a medium size congregation. I find that I have difficulty with keeping track of ballet schedules, grocery list, and job duties, and my life isn’t all that complex. Thank God, I am not God, and thank God that God is not a man. He created everything and remains in control of us all, yet He doesn’t loose track of any of us.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10 that there is not a single bird that falls to ground without God taking note, and that He knows every intimate detail of our lives, even knowing the number of hairs on our heads. See, God is bigger than anything we can possibly imagine, and we need to wake up every day with that fact in mind, yet we can never disregard the fact that in His vastness, He is right with us every step of the way.

The bible gives us many names for God, there is one that we typically only associate with Christmas, and while it’s meaning is essential to this time of year, and is the entire point of the incarnation of God, it should not be limited to a once a year holiday. “Immanuel” is the name given by the angel to Mary while foretelling of the birth of Jesus (Mathew 1:23). This simple name carries a great wealth of life for us. It means “God with us.” What greater promise can we have outside of the fact that our God, this massive God, is actually present with us every single day, and longs to have a deeply personal relationship with each of us.

Today, look around, get a vision of how great, creative, and massive God is. Then, hold firmly to the promise that that same God is close to you right now. If you believe in God and in all of his grandeur, but haven’t experienced a one on one relationship with Him, give it a shot, He’s close to you right now. And while it is true that God has very important things to do, never think He has more important things to do that be with you. Our God is Immanuel, a God who is always with us.

Grace and Peace to you.