December 30, 2010

Great Minds Think Alike

A cute story.... several months ago while I had a little free time, I did some research on baby items, and I made a tentative list of things to register for based on what I thought would best fit us and had been tried and true tested. I eliminated all sorts of unnecessary, overpriced items and tried to narrow it down to the best stuff for the best price. My sister Jen said she wanted to get me a diaper bag for Christmas, so I was excited to see what she would pick. Turns out, she picked the exact same one I had put on my list to register for, except in a different pattern (one that I liked even more). Out of all the bajillions of bags out there, we picked the same one! Guess sisters know best :)

December 27, 2010

$29,000 God

Lately, we've had a string of financial burdens come upon us... things that are costing us a great deal of money- Ben's school fees and supplies after a previously-promised government loan was retracted because (surprise) the government ran out of money, very high health/dental care bills (hello Baby), and work on our ageing car. With me being the only wage-earner (a humble one at that) and knowing I will be out of commission soon, I've started feeling the dreaded 'weight' of doubt trying to creep up a little with each new found surprise. For some reason, it was easier for me to trust God to provide in India when we had nothing, than it is for him to provide for our family here in America. Maybe that is because things here are so expensive and unpredictable. Maybe it's because of the media's fear-mongering attitude. Maybe it's my desire to have things under control, to not only know the "if" but the "how", and in advance. Maybe it's the enemy trying to get his grimy little hand into my recent determination to really trust (see past blog post). Perhaps it's a little of all these things. Whatever the reason, I'm thankful that God is loving, patient, and kind, even towards my lability.

My friend Erica recommended a link to this blog post, and it was quite timely.  Maybe it will be for you, as well, with whatever is going on in your lives.

The $29,000 God

A few months ago, my five year old, McRae told me, “The biggest number I know of is 26.”
At the end of her understanding of numbers was the number 26. In her mind, that was really how big numbers come. If you wanted to describe how far the moon was from earth, probably about 26 miles. Want to say how long it felt to wait for Christmas to get here? It was like 26 minutes! Number of pieces of candy she estimates she got for Halloween? 26.

It’s her biggest number. Until that is, I told her about 27. And blew her mind.

She’s not great at “sizing” things. But that’s OK, she’s 5. She’s pretty sure fairies are real. She’s convinced every dog in the world would like to meet her. The other day at Costco she saw a man with a white beard and proceeded to yell to everyone in the store, “Santa is shopping here today! He. Is. Here. Today!!”

That’s OK behavior for her. She’s just a kid. She’s little. But oddly enough, she’s not the only one who tends to get sizes all twisted. She’s not the only one who tends to “under size.” In fact, I think lot of us do that, especially when it comes to God.

I learned this last year when the Stuff Christians Like community raised money to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. On a random Monday, I asked readers to help me raise $30,000 and that honestly made me nervous. It’s weird to ask for money. It changes your intimacy levels. It’s like actually holding hands during couples skate at Roller Kingdom in Hudson, Massachusetts. Sure, you might skate around in circles with Stacy Valentino listening to Bobby Brown’s “Tender Roni,” but holding hands is a whole nother level. (That example got really specific and 7th gradery.)

But it’s true, asking for money is awkward, which is why pastors do the money disclaimer when they preach. They start their sermon by saying, “I never normally preach about money, I never preach about tithing, except today.” And that’s always the Sunday your neighbor or coworker finally agreed to come to church with you. Your friend always comes on the money Sunday or the day the mime group, “Gloves of Love” is there to perform.

So I was anxious about asking for money. And I honestly thought it would take us 6 weeks to raise $30,000. But if you’ve read this site for a while, you know that was not the case.

We raised all $30,000 in a matter of 18 hours. It took us less than a day to complete the entire campaign and I realized I had been like McRae with the number 26.

Here’s what I essentially said to God before the project started:

“God, you are massive. You are huge. You made the universe and created all space and time. You are without end! But, you are slightly less big than $30,000. You’re like a really solid $29,000 God. And that’s awesome. I mean that’s pretty good. I think you’re almost all powerful, you’re just not $30,000 powerful.”

Have you ever done that?

Have you ever been faced with what felt like an insurmountable challenge and in the midst of that, you’ve worshiped a really small God? Have you ever prayed something like:

“God, you are gigantic. You rule the universe. You’re just not as big as my college application process. You are slightly too small to handle that.”


“God, I love you. You are massive and supreme. You are huge, except you’re not big enough to handle my divorce. You are smaller than this experience.”


“God, you are like the real He-Man, you are master of the universe! You are so big and so all knowing, except you probably don’t know how to handle my job search. You’re big, you’re just slightly tinier than my unemployment.”

No one would actually prays those words, but that’s what flows from our heart when we allow doubt to set up shop. That’s how we live when we feel like we’ve got to force things to happen or they never will. That’s what happens when we under size God.

The truth is, God is bigger than $30,000.

God is bigger than a divorce.

God is bigger than unemployment.

God is bigger than a teen daughter who swears she doesn’t love you.

God is bigger that money problems.

God is bigger than our biggest dreams.

And I thank God that he is. I think sometimes we want him to be pocket-sized and manageable. I’ve heard people say things like, “I want a God who can explain to me why bad things happen to good people.” I understand that frustration, I do, but here’s the thing. I don’t want a God who ever has to fit within my understanding. I don’t want a God who is limited by mind and my experiences.

I want a big God. A God that spans generations and space and time. I don’t want a God who needs my approval or comprehension to do something big. How we as a people have lost a sense of the mysterious when part of the trinity is the Holy “Ghost” is beyond me, but we have.

This holiday season, as the birth of Christ is remembered, let’s celebrate our big God. Let’s honor a huge, wild, unable to be controlled by our small minds God.

He’s bigger than that thing you worried about or dreamt about.

I promise.

Jonathan Acuff

"Everything in life is a tool. Just a tool in the shaping and molding of our lives and hearts. Just a tool to bring us to our knees once again and lay things at His feet and rest in the hope that He has never and will never leave or forsake us. So often I may not be sure of the ride I'm going on, but more than sure of the love and care of the Driver. That really is enough to hold on to." A.W.