A few years ago, my family and I began attending a church, many of whose members are of Dutch heritage. I used to tell people there that we really liked the church but that I didn’t know if it was quite right for us. The sermons were great. The liturgy was beautiful. The people were nice. So what was the problem? Our height—or lack of it! We felt far too short in a church in which many of the women stood well over six feet tall. If I thought I could get away with it, I would remind them of the Scripture passage that speaks about how afraid the Israelite’s were of crossing into the promised land because of the “giants” that lived there. “Did you know,” I would expound in my best Bible teacher voice, “that scholars have finally discovered the identity of those enormous people? The archaeological evidence points to the fact that those “giants” wandered into the promised land from the Netherlands!”
My eldest daughter can’t wait for the day she attains the grand height of five feet zero inches tall. But what she really wishes is that she were about seven feet tall, unlikely for a Chinese American. When I ask her why, she tells me that then she would be looming over the boys in her class, who would no longer dare to bother her. She would be much too powerful.
Most of us experience times in our lives when we, too, wish we had more power-- to direct our future, to help our children, to make the world a better place. Some situations make our weakness painfully apparent. At such times, it might help to reflect on our connection to the most powerful person in the universe, to Yahweh Tsebaoth. Consider how the Bible shows him commanding not only armies of angels and humans but the natural world as well.
He afflicted the Egyptians with plagues of gnats, frogs, flies, hail, darkness, and locusts (Exodus 8-10)
He parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-31)
He used thunder to vanquish an enemy (1 Samuel 7: 10-12)
He prevented lions from eating Daniel (Daniel 6: 16-20
Jesus showed signs of commanding the same kind of power as the God of the Old Testament. Remember the sudden storm on Galilee? He was asleep in the boat, when his disciples shook him, yelling, “Master! Master! We’re going to die!” But instead of sharing their alarm, Jesus simply stood up and told the winds and the waves to calm down!
Though we are weak and limited, we are not defenseless because we belong to a God of unimaginable power. And though it may seem that he is sleeping through our time of need, he is still Yahweh Tsebaoth, the Lord of Armies, able to do far more than we think or imagine.