A God Thing

When people describe God, like David so often does, they describe His miracles. How many times do the Psalms mention the parting of the Red Sea, the battles that could never be won except by the hand of God: Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan? (Psalm 136:55-22). These are the things we remember, these are the things we tell people about. But when God describes Himself to Job, He doesn’t mention a single miracle.

He is the God who placed the boundaries on the ocean, who causes the sun to rise every morning, and who leads the constellations across the skies. Every single bit of that is scientifically explainable, from the mountain goats getting their food to the electrons lining up to carve a path for the lightning bolt. And it’s no less God.

I’m guilty of this; Job’s friends were guilty of this; Job himself was guilty of this: a very narrow view of what God does. If it’s good, it’s a God thing. If it’s unexplainable, God did it. If the cancer went into spontaneous remission and the doctors can’t explain what happened, it must have been an act of God. Yes. Absolutely.

If it’s explainable, God still did it (see Job 38-39). Do we imagine that the ordinary happens by accident? That the giant watchmaker in the sky wound up the world and let it go? He is still just as involved today as He ever was, in the ordinary, and in the extraordinary.

My mother had cancer, and she was healed. By the wisdom of the doctors, by the skill of the surgeons, by the effects of chemotherapy, and by the will of a sovereign God. Her faith was no less because she sought medical help, and her healing was no less a result of prayer because it came by way of medical treatment.

When we divide the world into acts of God and acts of man, when we categorize something as man-made or God-made, when we make a distinction between the natural and the supernatural, we place a limit on this God, the God of thunder and lightning, hail and snow, of oceans and mountains and the foundations of the earth. We describe God as the God of miracles. God describes Himself as something bigger. Do not underestimate the God of the ordinary.

Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.” Coming fall 2020.