Little did I know that my post on success would launch me into a series that would have me examining words whose meaning I feel have been whittled away until they no longer carry the meaning they were intended. This feels a little like Sesame Street (my favorite show growing up) when I say this week’s word is overwhelmed.
Sure, you’re thinking I’m a doofus right now for suggesting such a widely used word has lost meaning. However, I think its overuse in today’s over-worked and hyper-busy society has in fact led to what I’m referring. We use it for everything from traffic to weather to stress to people to our pets and every other situation imaginable. Despite the abundance of applications, have you ever used the word in reference to God?
Herein lies my point. We restrict our use of the word to menial and temporal instances, but ignore an infinitely (literally) more important application. Last time I looked into the matter, the Bible asserted several times that God is indeed infinite. That in and of itself should, based on magnitude alone, be overwhelming. There is no limit that exists for God. There is nothing that God cannot do. Time, doesn’t exist. Space, just a human term. Every other dimension, He created so we could understand the universe a little better, but that is pretty much their only purpose. He supersedes all knowledge and understanding because He is the originator of both. He created everything we could possibly come up with, so don’t you think He’d have to be a little smarter than each to be able to think it and speak it into being? Oh yeah, and He spoke life itself into being.
Honestly, I really enjoy using the archaic word whelm as it’s a fun word that no one uses. However, I use this with God. It’s truly sad that God doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s sad that God doesn’t draw an occasional “ooh” or “ahh” when He does the cool stuff in my life to which I’m now accustomed. Come on, even fireworks get those responses! Look at what I said before the fireworks comment, focusing on the word accustomed. That’s a fancy way of saying that I’m complacent in my understanding of God; He fits in my little box and that God is not overwhelming, but merely whelming. It’s like a my-size God figurine that I have a relationship with here. But where does this get me?
What I’m getting at is I don’t let God wow me. I’ve taken for granted His constant grace to the point where I’m just calloused to it all. I value the gifts over the Giver, but they’ve grown old. The intent was never to value them in this way, but it is where my twisted heart has led me. However, it is comfortable and familiar. I’m not asking God to amaze me with fireworks; it’s actually the opposite. I’m saying that I’ve lost my ability to be overwhelmed by the constant grace of God that is all around me.
Complacency is the enemy when it comes to being overwhelmed with the greatness and the majesty of God. I’ve reached an understanding that I’m comfortable with and been able to take the mystery out of my god. This god is travel-sized, but he’s useless. This replica of God doesn’t challenge me or provide for any of the essentials (salvation and sustenance, for example) which my soul needs simply because it can’t. Only God can do that. Despite my hard-headed nature, I do recognize this fact.
Maybe I’m missing the mark on the purpose for believing in God in the first place, but this miniaturized caricature I’ve created isn’t cutting it. God only works when I allow Him to be unimaginable and unexplainable. If God really is who He claims to be in the Bible, then I simply should not have the facilities to comprehend all that He is. Now, I should have an idea and always seek to know and understand Him better, but ultimately a little bit of infinity is still pretty much nothing. Let’s let God be overwhelming and let Him make aspects of Himself whelming to us, not the other way around.