SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

Have you ever sung the song, “O What a Mighty God We Serve?” Well, God’s strength is very different from the energy we usually consider. We tend to include things like bombs and explosions when we think about force. We point to nuclear power plants and giant engines that make a lot of noise. We list dictators and tanks and soldiers. We point to football players so jacked up on steroids that they have no discernable necks. And because this is our image of courage, when we look at Jesus’ ministry to the poor, the sick, and the suffering, we do not see anything we would label as strong in it.

However, the sunrise offers us a near-perfect analogy for how to understand what God’s strength is really like. If you live near the ocean, no doubt you’ve seen the sun rise over the water. Some rays of light from that sun traveled almost 100 million miles through the great vacuum of space, trickled through the clouds over the water, and find their way through the open blinds into a house or apartment. Imagine those rays of light filtered through those blinds landing on the face of a newborn baby girl lying in her crib. Feeling the warmth of that light caressing her cheek, she was ever so gently roused from her sleep, cooing in the way newborns do when they’re not screaming their heads off.

At that exact moment, other rays of light from that same sun that traveled almost 100 million miles trickled through those same clouds, landing not on the face of that newborn baby girl but on the water’s surface. And as those rays of light hit the water, they eventually cause the molecules of that water to vibrate with increasing intensity. Essentially, that light caused the water to boil, so by the end of today alone, some 52 cubic MILES of water will be transformed from a liquid into a vapor and rise to enter the atmosphere.

Once in the atmosphere, that water will then get swept up by air currents and move across the globe, falling in the form of rain, snow, sleet, and hail. In some places, it will cause flooding and mass devastation. In other areas, it will etch new landscapes out of solid granite. And everywhere, it will provide the water needed to sustain some of the 8.7 million species of plants and animals that call earth home. Which is all to say, while we can look at the light gently landing on a baby’s face and say it’s not that strong, we can only say that because we don’t have the complete picture in view. Our perspective is too limited.

In the same way, God’s strength – as displayed in acts of mercy and compassion, as demonstrated ultimately in Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross – may look to us as tiny and insignificant. But while it may look to us to be the very definition of weakness.  It’s that mercy, that compassion, that self-sacrificial love that is the very definition of strength.

Likewise, it takes strength to love your enemies. It takes courage to reach out to those who aren’t like you. It requires a strong effort to forgive those who have wronged you. It’s that mercy, that compassion; it’s that self-sacrificial love that can wrestle power from the forces of evil that hold our world. It’s that mercy, that compassion; it’s that self-sacrificial love that can make the kingdom of God a reality here on earth. Now that’s power!

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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