One of my favorite quotes comes from G.K. Chesterton. I won’t quote the whole thing verbatim here (although I can from memory). But basically it says that God has the eternal appetite of youth, and makes every single sunset and daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. “For we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is far younger than we.”
The more I think about that, the more I see the beautiful truth in that. The more every sunset becomes special, and the more even simple little acts become miracles.
I have always had a difficulty with people who find an angel around every corner. When I slip and fall or cut myself shaving, the natural order of things is for the wound to heal. It is no miracle. The human body is meant to heal itself. Even deep wounds usually fix themselves over time. People who loudly proclaim miracles in everyday occurrences have always been a minor annoyance to me. It has often felt that these people are grasping at straws, as if God healing a minor abrasion or stopping an itch is the proof of His existence that they need to keep on going.
Recently, a small boy reminded me of the foolishness of my position. The boy had a particularly painful insect bite that was significantly bothering him. He came to me and a group of others to pray for his bite. He looked cute limping along as if the leg was going to need amputation. I suspect that he had been approaching quite a few others for prayer as well. We prayed for him. I confess that although I was sincere in prayer, I wasn’t praying the “Oh God, help us,” type prayer.
The next day, the boy ran in to meet me and loudly told me that I had to “come see what God did for me!” He had no pain. The bite was there, but it was much smaller.
Do spider bites naturally shrink and grow less painful overnight? Of course they do. Was this a true miracle? It was to the boy, and I don’t think that anything else matters. I believe in a God who would heal a young boy of a vicious and non-life-threatening spider bite for no other reason than that He wants the boy to know He loves him.
The Message version of Ephesians 5 says, “Mostly what God does is love you.” I find that passage annoying mostly because it isn’t what the actual text says. But I’ve been thinking for quite some time over the possible truth of that statement. I am still not sure. What I am sure of though, is that God uses a lot of outrageous and extravagant gestures to show His creation that He deeply loves them.
I believe that God created stars millions of light years away. There are galaxies that dwarf our own. There are cosmic events that make our lives seem less than footnotes of universal history. God also made the platypus and the frog, small, strange creatures, which in my opinion exist primarily for me to giggle at. I can’t believe that complexity and the intricacy of it all is by chance any more than I can believe that my cell phone is the product of random chemicals. It must all have a purpose.
According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, it all exists to glorify God and enjoy Him. I concur (which I am sure validates it all). I can’t picture God with the sternness and seriousness of the crotchety old man that we make Him out to be. In art and fiction we’ve envisaged Him as gazing down on humanity with some serious need for Botox for the frown lines. I picture God in some heavenly council somewhere, leaning off the edge of His great throne gazing on us with our small needs met, with a giant smile on His face and a glint in His eye. The God I see in my head is more like some Norse king with laughter echoing through the great hall than He is diplomat.
The story of God and humanity is one of continuous extravagant love. It is the story of God caring deeply that two people suddenly had lost intimacy with Him. It is the story of God promising a childless old couple that they would have not just one, but millions of kids. It is the story of God rescuing a slave nation in dramatic fashion. It is the story of God becoming part of His creation and paying the fine that He had set. It is the story of God creating sunsets and stars and galaxies and platypuses, and healing a little boy’s bug bite for no other reason than that He enjoys loving us. And that brings Him glory.