Last Thursday, in "How Big is our God, Part 1", we saw that no matter
what we are going through, our God is bigger. The reason our
circumstances seem larger than God is that we focus on them instead of
on Him. The solution for keeping them in their proper perspective lies
in keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus.
Why is it, however, that our eyes seem so naturally drawn to our problems and away from Jesus? Is it possible that we allow our circumstances to become--false gods?
Now wait a minute. Even that idea seems harsh! Just because we are focusing on our problems doesn't mean we are bowing before them!
Keep in mind, however, that false gods are not limited to idols made of wood and stone, and worship includes more than physically bowing before something. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry defines false gods as follows: "gods that are not real but invented by men or inspired by demons. The purpose of which is to deceive people, so they do not believe in the true and living God." Thus, a false god can be anything that consumes our time and energy so much that it draws our attention away from God. It could be a spouse or a job; it could be addictions, pastimes, pets, etc. The point is, anything we allow to become big in our minds has the potential of becoming a type of god for us.
In the context of our negative circumstances, if they have managed to draw our attention away from God or have made us doubt God's power, if they have managed to make it seem that God isn't there, isn't listening or doesn't care, if they have caused us to stop believing that God is bigger than our problems, then by definition, they have become a "false god".
Let me illustrate:
The week before Easter was a horrendous week at the rehab hospital where I work. Circumstances dictated that a record number of people needed to be seen by a significantly-reduced number of staff. By Thursday morning, the day before Good Friday, I could see no solution to the workload without putting in several more hours of unpaid overtime. I was so tired and stressed by it all that I burst into tears: "I guess there will once again be no lunch for me," I sobbed, "and I'll be here until 6 tonight, and probably even later...Again!"
If you are sensing a touch of self-pity in my words, you are very right. My problem was that I was giving the circumstances my entire focus. I was allowing the busyness at work to become my false god to the point that I couldn't seem to remember that God, the author of time, was way bigger than my lack of it. Hey, I couldn't even seem to remember there was a God!
And my tirade of self-pity continued: "I'm so hungry. I have a headache. I have things I need to do after work..."
That's when God reminded me of this message that He had already been working into my heart: I was allowing my circumstances to become bigger than my God, and the enemy was using this to keep my focus away from the only One who could truly help me. I lifted my eyes to Heaven at that point, and as soon as I did, I heard God's voice in my spirit: "Why won't you get time off for lunch?"
But my circumstances still loomed so large in my eyes: "Because You didn't do Your job, Lord!" I ranted. "You promised me You would take care of the busyness at work today, but You haven't!"
Yup. By focusing on my circumstances, they had succeeded in making me doubt God's bigness to the point that I was actually accusing God! They had most certainly become a "false god"...
But that loving voice in my spirit wasn't daunted by my false accusations: "Is the day over?"
"Take lunch, Lyn!"
Slowly I nodded my head as I decided to take that step in faith. "Okay," I said, "I thank You in advance for coming through for me. I put the day and the work in Your hands, and I bless Your holy name for how big You are going to be in these circumstances today!"
As I said those words, my mind was overcome with the wondrous love and power of God, and the circumstances shrunk back in my mind until they seemed like nothing at all.
I did take lunch, and when yet another new referral came in that afternoon, the all-big, all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe sent me unexpected help. He then slowed time so that I could accomplish a lot more in my allotted charting time than is humanly possible, and I was packing my bags to leave by 4:40. Anyone surprised to know that I also finished everything at home, and I wasn't even late to bed? Oh, and I had such peace in my heart that entire afternoon that I was actually able to brighten my patients' day.
In the light of the huge things you are experiencing, this example may seem trite; but let's remember that no matter what it is you're going through right now, God is bigger: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Rev. 22:13 NET). When we allow our circumstances, no matter how small or how large, to consume our focus and cause us to take our eyes off God, they will become a false god to us. They will loom over us, squashing our hope and feeding our fears. However, when we make that effort to see things from God's perspective, when we put our faith in Him, when we give Him the circumstances, no matter how big or small, fully believing that He is big enough to come through for us, He always does. Sometimes we have to wait, but even in the waiting, God will give us joy in our hearts; for we can be assured that no matter what our circumstances, our God is bigger!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire "How Big is YOUR God?" mini-series, please click here.)