It happened in a slum in India. A friend of mine was admiring the ingenuity that had turned an old truck trailer into a two-story apartment. As she studied this, she noticed a little girl who in time introduced herself as Sita.
Sita didn’t have much but my friend happened to notice some sort of charm around her neck. Sita proudly declared that her god lived within it. Noticing how small the charm was and without really thinking, my friend responded, “It must be a little god!” Without hesitation Sita simply replied, “It’s all I could afford.”
How big is your God? It’s a question of your perception rather than his immutability. Do we sometimes box God in according to either our finite mind, adverse circumstances or the sway of others?
You see, in a very real sense we’re all theologians. After all, theology simply refers to the contemplation of God (literally “God-study”). We all do it – but how well do we do it? Here we are, finite beings trying to understand He who is infinite.
Good theology therefore is not so much what we think about God as it is understanding what God thinks about himself.
John (J.B.) Phillips –best known for his paraphrase of the New Testament – captured the challenge we theologians face in his popular book, “Your God is too small”. Chapter headings such as; The Resident Policeman, Parental Hangover, Grand Old Man, Pale Galilean and Managing Director all hint at the many misconceptions we can have about God.
How well do we understand for instance, that no-one has experienced joy, peace, hope and love more perfectly and consistently than God? And not just occasionally but continuously? Do we believe that God is the most joyous, peaceful, hopeful, just and loving being there ever was!
A good reason for thinking so is that God seems to think it and after all – as the author and perfecter of our faith – he’s an author you can trust!
“Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne. Think constantly of him enduring all that sinful men could say against him and you will not lose your purpose or your courage.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 – J.B.Phillips