When I was a kid, I loved MacGyver. I grew up in a family that didn’t watch much TV, but without fail, every Monday night we gathered together to witness the man who could save the world using only duck tape, a Swiss Army knife and a toothpick. He was amazing!
After several years of following this leather jacket wearing, mullet sporting, jack-of-all-trades, my mom found herself at a coffee shop one afternoon with some friends. She looked across the room and saw – yep, you guessed it – MacGyver! There was no mistaking the man who had entranced the Stern family. Mustering her courage, my mom interrupted his conversation and asked for an autograph. After he graciously obliged, my mom motioned to the man sitting next to him, “So who is this friend of yours? Some other movie star?” Mac said “This is my friend…Bruce Springsteen.” My mom laughed, “Yeah right!” and headed back to her table.
That evening, we received our “MacGyver” autographs and heard about “the joke” MacGyver told. We found a picture of Springsteen and showed her. Turns out MacGyver doesn’t lie. My mom has never lived it down – she laughed at Bruce Springsteen!
I wonder how many times we might miss God simply because we don’t know what He looks like. A.W. Tozer wrote, “The most important thing about you is what comes to your mind when you think about God.” So what comes to your mind? Do you think of a far off, bigger than the universe God or do you think of God as small and really not all that impressive? Does old and boring come to mind? Maybe a God who is upset with you or not always around?
Our understanding of God should not be a pursuit left to those who write thick books on theology but rather should be an exercise for everyone. Psalm 50:21 says “You thought the I AM was altogether like you.” Are we guilty of understanding God as similar to us? I know that I am. I often wonder if we have lost our majesty and awe when it comes to comprehending God and in so doing have created a “god” we can explain and manage.
I live in Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak. At more than 14,000 feet, the mountain towers over our city; yet I am amazed at how easily I forget it is there. Somehow, I end up driving by this natural wonder every day as if it were a small dirt mound found in every city in America. Nothing, though, reminds me of its majesty more than when my wife and I have friends come to visit. They sit and stare in awe at this huge mountain that is visible for miles. I think I could do more sitting and staring myself.
The same is true in my relationship with the God of the universe. Sometimes I take Him for granted and find myself not very “wowed” by Him. I am trying now to stop more often, to look in awe – to stand in the presence of a mind-blowing God. The result? I find myself so grateful. And I notice in my own life and the lives of others that doing so makes way for a deepening understanding of God in two significant ways.
First, our worship. How we understand God will determine how we worship Him. So if I think God is small, my worship is small. If I think God is weak, I don’t worship Him as the One who has all power. If I believe God is far off, then my worship is impersonal. If I believe He is close, my worship is intimate. If I see God as the One who created the galaxies, knows the number of hairs on my head and transformed my heart, then my life begins to overflow with worship. When I see Him as a big God, He gets my big worship.
Second, our trust. Think about it: God is loving, which means that He has our best interest in mind. God is wise, which means that He knows the end from the beginning and the best way to get there. God is all-powerful, which means He can do anything. So what does that mean for us?
Maybe you are unsure about the future. The job you thought would work out didn’t and the relationship you thought was “the one” just went the way of the Titanic. Things aren’t looking too good. The job market is dry and the relationship market is even drier. On their own, these circumstances are ingredients for worry. With God, though, your trust is deepened. Since God is loving, He has your best interest in mind – He wants you to have a healthy marriage and a career that glorifies Him. Since He is wise, He knows when that will happen, how it will happen, the best way for it to happen, where it will happen and with whom it will happen. Since He is all-powerful, He also has the ability to make it happen. He can move mountains for you! In light of who He is, you may find your prayers shifting from “God, please help me to find the right person or the perfect job!” to “God, please help me to trust you more!”
I suggest we shatter our “god boxes” and embrace the mystery. It’s okay that we can’t totally wrap our minds around God. He is unfathomable. Let’s allow that reality to explode our worship and spur us on to deeper trust. My mom may not recognize Bruce Springsteen, but I pray that I am always able to recognize the living God in every part of life!