Chapter 2: Gripped by God’s Awesomeness

How many times a day do you use the word awesome? I know in high school I used it quite often. I also still use it today, but I have been challenged recently not to. Why? Well, what is awesome? Well, “producing awe”….so not too helpful yet, but the author continues to define what awe is. “Look it up, you won’t find any warm, soft synonyms for awe. They’re serious and threatening. Awe promotes fear and terror. Dread and fright. Awesome says ‘watch out!’” So, when you say that play was awesome….did you really mean to say that the play promoted you to fear and terror, dread and fight? Then it wasn’t truly awesome. The only truly awesome thing is our GOD.

In our rushed society, it’s so easy to have road blocks in getting to God…don’t get me wrong, God is easily accessible, but road blocks to our relationship in the sense that we have too many things on the “to do” list to read our Bible, or maybe we gossip rather than pray, or many other examples (from personal experience), but the author points to a verse in Isaiah 40:3, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for God.” When was the last time you “cleared the way.” I know for me lately, I have had to purpose in my heart and mind (because I believe you need both) to read God’s word and also to listen for Him. We’re so quick to pray with our prayer requests, but how often do we listen. Personally, I’m horrible at this, and it’s a MAJOR struggle to sit in silence and not day dream.

 This next passage declaring God’s awesomeness just has to be quoted from the book because it’s an incredible mental picture to think about the power and majesty of our God as well as the significant

             But God “stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in”(v.22). The word “heavens” describes all of God’s created universe,” and poof…as easily as you put up an umbrella, it was all there.

            Do you have any idea the immensity of the universe God spoke into existence? I’ve tried for many years to find a decent description. Try this on for size: We’re on planet Earth, and we are 93,000,000 miles from the sun. Imagine that distance as the thickness of a piece of paper. From the Earth to the sun, 93,000,000 miles equals a piece of paper.

            With that in mind, the distance to the nearest star is a stack of paper seventy-one feet high, with every single piece of paper representing 93,000,000 miles. (Stay with me; this is getting outrageous.) The size of our galaxy is represented by a stack of paper 310 MILES high (the distance from Chicago to St. Louis), with every single piece of paper in that stack representing 93,000,000 miles. That’s just our galaxy, and it’s one among millions.

            You say, “Oh, I understand that.” Well, think about this then.

            The KNOWN universe is a stack of paper 31,000,000 miles high with every single piece of paper representing 93,000,000 miles! Now for those of you who like math, there are 10.4 million sheets of paper in a stack one mile high. Therefore, the known universe is 31,000,000 miles of paper, with each mile representing 10.4 million sheets of paper and each sheet of paper representing 93,000,000 miles. Are you getting a headache?

           In every description we see of God’s reality, we are struck by the immense distance that exists between us and God – in power, in size, in ability, in majest. The gap is too great to measure.

 The rest of the chapter discusses God’s literal awesomeness. It discusses how leaders are only a “blip on God’s radar.” On earth, we stress because of what this ruler or that is doing….I know I certainly do, but I “not one of His purposes is ever delayed or frustrated – not even for a moment…No one influences God. No one impacts the Lord. No one changes His mind about anything. He doesn’t need you, me, or anyone.”

 I don’t know how to end a chapter review like this one. As our pastor at church says, I think I frequently put God in a box (in church it’s been Jesus we have been putting in a box), but I think I have done this. I have built and painted this beautiful box for God. I want to put Him in there so He is manageable, but why? My God is so powerful, but I want to control Him? He provokes fear and tear, dread and fright…but why? Because He is more powerful than we will ever be able to imagine on earth. Those against Him ignite His fury. Be careful when you use the word “awesome,” we can not begin to comprehend what it means.


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