As I stood in my kitchen, scraping uneaten scrambled eggs off plates, my head filled with words. It all made sense as the words ran together in my mind making sentences and paragraphs.
Sitting now at my computer, it's time to put words on the page and I can't do it. All my words seem powerless and small.
I feel this way often-powerless and small. Children know this feeling well. When you are eye-level with the kitchen counter, the kitchen feels huge and getting a snack seems way out of reach! So, what do they do? They look to someone bigger for help.
Do you feel it too - this small feeling that creeps in when reality permeates our carefully built bubble? It threatens to render us powerless and weak and we wonder, “How can I effect change from my small place in this world?”
We must not despise the smallness and allow it to render us powerless. Instead, we must remember the glory of the One whom we are following, and the way he uses the small things to point to the greatness of His own Kingdom.
We must remember the smallness of the mustard seed and the leaven in the bread (Matt. 13:31-32), the reflection of the kingdom of heaven in those things that start small and grow in the greatness of God’s glory.
We must remember that God chooses to use what is foolish to shame the wise, and what is weak to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)
We must remember that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, that comfort is for those who mourn, and that the meek will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3-5)
We must remember the tiny fleas in the concentration camps that had the power to keep Nazi soldiers at bay so that the Ten Boom sisters could teach scripture to the other prisoners and bring hope in one of the darkest seasons of human history. (The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom)
We must remember the small infant who came into this world, nursed in the arms of an awestruck teenage girl, who offers hope for all who are lost in the darkness.
We must remember Jesus.
I remember a small conversation I had one day with my then small three-year-old. She had been asking questions about God throughout the previous two weeks. Her little mind had been filing away names, i.e. Mommy is Heather, the dog is Lilly, the turtle is Donnie, etc. That day she asked, “Who is God?” Wow. Where do I start to explain God to a three-year-old?
“He is the Maker of everything.” I replied, thinking the beginning might be a good place to start.
“No, the other God!” She came back a little perturbed.
“You mean Jesus?” I ask.
“Well, it’s the same God…” I started to say, then stopped. We’ll save the trinity for another day.
I started again. “Jesus died for you.”
“He loves me?” she asks. We sing the song every night when we tuck her in so I knew she knew the answer.
“Yes.” I turned away, thinking our conversation is over and had ended nicely.
“Because he made you. You are his.”
Yep. I was about to step into the never ending “Why?” spiral. I thought for a moment, trying to come up with an answer that will close this interrogation. The shorter catechism of the Westminster Confession popped into my mind, so I went with it.
“So that the world can see his glory and we can enjoy him forever.”
Silence. It went over her head. She saw something shiny and skipped away.
But the thought stuck with me. We are small and live small lives, but we belong to the Creator, and are loved by him deeply. So, when small things like kindness come on stage in the midst of hate, disaster and death, it radiates with his glory.
I am reminded of Christ on the cross forgiving the thief next to him. While in the midst of excruciating pain, surrounded by a mob that continues to scream at him, Jesus extends kindness to the repentant thief and says, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) In the darkest hour, God’s love radiates with the life of Jesus and this glory still illuminates brilliantly thousands of years later.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
When kindness resembles that of Christ, it is such a stark contrast to evil that it can’t be overlooked. It is so bright, that even a smidgen of it sprinkled in a moment of tragedy shines brightly enough to declare his goodness, bring us joy, and draw us to know him.
In my small place on this planet, I search for the glory of God, because I know it is here if I will but have the eyes to see.
I can’t stop wars, but I can offer kindness to the people living in my house and the house next door, and even the people in a house across town.
I can’t resolve national issues from where I am, but I can resolve to defend those who are victims of a broken world with prayer and help when the opportunity arises.
I can’t offer hope to everyone, but I can teach my children to be advocates for grace, who will then teach their own children, and thereby influence generations with the message of the gospel.
Maybe what I have to offer is very small, laughable even, but it’s not my place to withhold what’s been put in my hands if it’s in my power to give it. Like the little boy with a lunch of fish and bread, I can hand what I have to Jesus and let the glory of God take center stage.
And so can you, dear Momma. You may think your is small life and has no effect or influence, but you would be wrong to believe that. You are effecting and influencing in ways you may not be aware of because mustard seed smallness is easily overlooked. It’s not our job to decide what God uses for his glory, all we can do is surrender what we have to him and allow him to use it as he sees fit.
I love what Oswald Chambers says in his devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest,
“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God-but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people…”
May we be faithful to influence our little ones to know Jesus and love him most. May we not grow weary in the ordinary, mundane task of caring for our loves and meeting their small, and occasionally big, needs. May we not be intimidated by the power of evil we see flooding our media feeds. This week may we pray earnestly for the glory of God to be revealed in the darkest places on this planet, as well as in the darkness of our own hearts. May we love all people courageously and offer help faithfully, even when the help we give seems small compared to the great need. Let’s pray that the smallness of our lives would usher in the kingdom of heaven, and we would find our mourning turn to laughter as God’s glory fills the earth.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31