Math and I are not friends.
We had a pretty good relationship up until I took physics in high school, and that effectively pitted us against each other. There were so many different formulas, and I usually couldn’t figure out which one to use. And the math involved was more complex than math I’d done before. It was calculus, and the highest level I took in high school was equivalent to what you learn in Honors Algebra 2.
I remember the moment I heard a math teacher say there are two ways to infinity. (It was earlier on in my academic career than my physics class.) It blew my mind. The teacher was referring to negative numbers and positive numbers, a concept I was already very familiar with, but I had never heard it phrased that way before.
To some extent, I look at time that way. There are centuries and centuries that are behind us and God only knows how much time ahead of us. The concept also calls to mind a particular scripture for me.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” –Psalm 90:1-2 (NRSV)
I think sometimes we forget how long God’s been doing His job.
When life starts to get us down, we begin to forget the times that God has pulled us up. That test that you didn’t study as hard for as you should have, yet you miraculously made a good grade on. That messy situation with your finances that just about sent you into a panic attack thinking about it that somehow got sorted out. A repaired relationship with a loved one. Guidance when you had nowhere to go. Acceptance when you didn’t belong anywhere. There have been many times when God’s helped us out, yet when a new trouble comes our way, we feel like it’s all up to us, like God’s not going to look out for us this time.
What’s more is we forget what God’s been doing for His people since He created people. You’d think that we’d be able to just take a look at the Bible and feel a sense of comfort. After all, it’s full of God being there for His people, being the only thing they could depend on most of the time. But we don’t see it that way, or at least I don’t.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but when I’m feeling low and I look at God’s Word, more often than not, I just see a lot of reading. I don’t see a lot of interesting stories, filled with characters, details and morals. I see me sitting there looking at a lot of words on a page.
When times are hard, it’s surprisingly easy to forget who and what God’s been to us. The next thing we know, we think we can do a better job on our own.
There’s a mistake waiting to happen. Each and every time a child of God takes a matter into his or her own hands, it just gets worse.
The problem’s too big for us. Life, and all of the good and bad that comes along with it, influences us. But God has control over the circumstances we don’t, over the way life influences us.
Picture a sanctuary. Not a happy place, a sanctuary. Not a place designed to make you smile and forget about your problems, but one that protects you from the anxiety your problems cause. Here, your problems still exist, but they don’t make you feel like the world is ending because you know it’s not. You know it’ll all be handled even if you don’t know how. There’s a warmness that only comes from familiarity and security.
Doesn’t that sound lovely? Doesn’t that sound like somewhere you just want to live?
Doesn’t that sound like God? (Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.)
Now imagine what it must have been like when God created the world. His hand guides the earth upward to form mountains. Ridges and cliffs are exactly where they should be. God carefully places each tree where it belongs. He rolls His hands up and down to form the hills. His fingers graze the ground to make the soft, green grass grow. He spreads His hands to smooth out the flatlands. He gently and purposefully places flowers along the landscape. He rubs the sands of the desert in His hands and meticulously places each grain. He does the same with the beaches just before He designs how the waves roll in.
That very same God, who so carefully and considerately put everything into place, designed you and watches out for you. (Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.)
It’s a humbling thought, isn’t it? The One who formed absolutely everything cares about you. Tiny, flawed you. There are so many things in the universe more majestic than human beings, but we’re the ones God chose to give a soul to, to love unconditionally.
The crazy part is not only that God is who He is, but also that He cares about us. David really captured it when he said, “[W]hat are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4, NRSV).
There’s a reason God’s called I Am. He is eternity. He always has been, and He always will be. He, and everything that He is, is everlasting.
By Carrie Prevette