There are a lot of things from my old PC (pre-corona) routine, that are gone. There are a lot of things that have been added, but one thing that has stayed the same is Wednesday Night Youth Group. Now mind you, it’s a very different platform than what we usually use, but here we are, still meeting on Wednesday nights, to do Bible study three times a month and a service night once a month. I won’t get into the details of how that works, since we don’t meet together.
This week, our study was on how we are created in the image of God to govern and take care of everything he created, i.e. plants, animals, other humans, natural resources all these amazing things. The study had us look at Psalm 8 as a secondary piece of scripture. I love this Psalm. I always have, and I’m not exactly sure if I can explain why. There’s just something about it that stirs something in me each time I read it where I can’t help but smile to myself about how God feels about us.
The author writes, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— 4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?[c] 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God[d] and crowned them[e] with glory and honor. 6 You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— 7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.
Here is this huge, unfathomable God, totally capable of just speaking things into existence. I see His creation and I’m left in awe of what He has made. He’s huge, powerful, and so much bigger than me. I’m dwarfed by the sheer magnitude of what He’s made. And yet, He thinks about me. He cares for me. Go ahead and put your name where it says them, and sit with the gravity of that statement. The creator of all things has thoughts, about you. I’m blown away by this. Not only is He thinking about you, and caring about you, but He’s crowned you with glory and honor, and is inviting you to take care of everything He’s made with Him, little us.
There’s a dichotomy here of us being both tiny and fragile in this big universe, and yet we are also powerful and capable of doing great things. I feel this tension and it got me thinking about what happens when we focus on only one side of the equation but forget the other half.
Let’s start with when we focus only on how we are capable and able to get things done. I’ve been guilty of narrowing my sight so much that this is the only part of myself I see. What has it got me? Well buckle up because here we go—working myself to exhaustion, pushing myself beyond what is physically, mentally, or spiritually healthy. It’s got me a lack of rest, a short disposition, too much self-reliance, and the arrogance to not seek God’s counsel on things. Focusing on myself being able to get things done has created stress and striving in my life, and shame when I fail to live up to my unreasonable expectations for myself. It’s also created judgement and a lack of empathy toward others.
Now let’s explore the other side of the coin. What happens when we focus only on the fact that we are tiny, and fragile, but lose sight of the fact that God has created us to do amazing things. This leads to a lose of hope, victim mentality, blaming others for our problems, and staying stuck in bad habits and patterns. It also stops us from living up to our full potential of what God is calling us to be or do. How could he possibly use me? What do I have to offer? It’s always going to be this way. I’m just a tiny ship at the mercy of the storm. My voice doesn’t matter. How could I ever impact anyone or make a difference? My life is ordinary.
Some of us needed the reminder that we are not invincible, that we are not the masters of our destiny. For some of us, this COVID thing has forced us to grapple with the fact that our lives are so fragile, our plans for the future are so fragile. We’ve been slapped with a cold dose of reality that we are not running the show. We never were. Others of us today, though, need the reminder that although we are fragile, God has created us to do good--such good! We are not helpless and we are not hopeless. There’s a lot that I can‘t control or change, but I do get to decide what I do with the breath and the time I have.
I can’t control what happens in the economy, but I can make a meal for a homeless shelter. I can’t control how long social distancing goes on, but I can use my time to text people, call loved ones, make cards, and reach out to friends. I can’t control if my husband or sons get this virus, but I can do my best to love them today—the only day I have them for sure. I can’t control the fear that comes over me, but I can pray it out and keep going back to God’s Word. Each of us has so much to offer the world. We are made in the image of a supernatural God, and His Holy Spirit has moved into our hearts. Our lives are far from ordinary.
We are fragile, and we need God so much, but He has also made us capable of greatness, so that we can take care of all that He has made. Today, let’s embrace our weakness. Maybe you haven’t accomplished everything you thought you would during this time. Maybe you’ve been short with those around you. Maybe you’re having a really hard time accepting this loss of control, maybe you’re not sure how you’re going to get the energy to get out of bed tomorrow—looks like you’re mortal. We all have limits. Rest when you need to and give yourself the grace that God already has given you.
Let’s also embrace our creativity--our ability to imagine, to love, to learn and to live as people who are created in God’s image. Have you made a meal, learned something new, helped a plant grow, helped a child’s mind grow, maybe you’ve encouraged a neighbor, prayed with a friend, maybe you’ve invented new games with your kids, or used scraps of old supplies around your garage to create something new. Don’t shortchange these things. Don’t downplay their impact. Celebrate them and thank your Father for inviting you to help care for His creation. Each tiny act of love is a piece of the divine--a tangible representation of the God who has made us in His likeness.