“The disproportion between us and the universe is a parable about the disproportion between us and God. And it is an understatement.” John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
I don’t have a bucket list, but if I ever create one, this will be on it: I want to experience the Northern Lights. I want to stand like a blade of grass on the cusp of Earth under an inky galaxy smeared with electric color. I want to feel how small I am, or even forget that I am at all, except for the chill of night air on my cheeks and the shiver of wonder down my spine. I want to learn anew how colossal and stunning creation is, and remember there is a God who easily holds such vastness in His hand.
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A friend once whispered to me between giggles that she’d taken six positive pregnancy tests; in her womb was a baby as small as a poppy seed. You don’t have to be a fertility specialist to know what a miracle every conception is. But even more than this tiny baby beating scientific odds to exist, I was amazed at the minuscule physical scale of it all. We have this enormous God. Our little planet Earth could fit more than one million times inside of the sun — and it is a star of average size! How is the God who creates such enormity agile enough to the knit microscopic cells of a baby together in a woman’s womb?
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I get tired of myself. If we’re honest, I bet we all do.
We live in a culture that celebrates keen self-awareness. We speak of finding, losing, and bettering ourselves. It’s like we’re trapped in the “Hall of Mirrors” at a carnival, unable to look away from our own desires, ambitions, and insecurities. Every facet of our lives is enlarged in our imaginations, like the tiny ulcer on your tongue you swore felt bigger than it turned out to be. Your job hunt feels dire, your loneliness acute, your hunger pressing. For us, reality spins inside our minds and bulges against our skulls. Sure, self-interest is unavoidable. But it often leaves me feeling caged inside my own perception.
My greatest peace comes from breaking out of the jail of myself.
And so I urge you today: step away from the carnival mirrors. Look at something that makes you forget yourself for a moment. Spend ten minutes watching tree leaves dance in the wind. Sit under an endless sky and tell your soul everything you know about who God is. Read Job 38-39 or Revelation 4 and feel that holy mix of fear and awe. See a God who is simultaneously huge enough to sustain the universe and humble enough to whisper inside your heart.
Worship, (staring at God in loving wonder,) is our earthly preview to heaven.
* And for a great, tiny book on this topic, read The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller.