By Dr. John Shultz
I wonder how 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 might work as a New Year’s resolution:
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
These words of Paul only make sense (and will only be “resolutions kept”) if we have faith to believe that God is able to handle the challenges that will inevitably come our way in 2015. I’d like to provide you with a bit of perspective that might strengthen your faith in God’s ability. These are primarily known as cosmological arguments (the view that there is a divine cause of the universe). While these arguments will not show that Christianity is true or Jesus was God Incarnate who came to rescue us from sin, they do have a lot to say about God’s capability, power and creativity. They are important enough to be highlighted in numerous scriptures including Psalm 19, Job 38-42 and Romans 1.
Here are three illustrations from nature that tell us something about God’s power to handle way more than will ever come into our lives:
- Since we’re in that time of year when white stuff falls from the sky on a regular basis, have you ever wondered how many snowflakes fall on the earth in a year? Someone with lots of time on their hands has calculated that 66,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 snowflakes fall every year (I have no idea what this number is called)! And we know that each one is different from all the others. So if God is capable of creating that many individual snowflakes every year, isn’t it possible that whatever problems or crises we face this year will not be too much for him handle? (Hmmm, reminds me of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount about birds and lilies).
- Every cell in your body contains DNA molecules. If they were stretched end to end each cell contains about 6 feet of those molecules. That means that if all the DNA molecules in your body were laid out end to end, they would reach from earth to the sun and back–70 times. Again, if God can create a human body with that much intricacy, he’s also able to create a way where there seems to be no way.
- This illustration comes from Louis Giglio (if you want lots of cosmological arguments check out his Youtube videos). One of the largest stars in our galaxy is Canis Majoris (The Big Dog). It is mind-numbing to consider its size. If the earth were the size of a golf ball (lots of shrinking involved there), Canis Majoris would be the size of Mt. Everest (six miles high). God through The Word has created a universe so vast that we can’t begin to comprehend it. Is it too much to believe that he is far above any ruler or authority, or power or leader or anything–not only in this world but also in the world to come (Eph. 1:21)? And with that much power and authority is it too much to believe that he is able to get us through whatever challenges 2015 may hold for us?
So I say to you, be joyful always because you are loved by a God who is able to do exceedingly more than you could ask or think. Pray continually because his capacity and compassion are yours for the asking. And give thanks in all circumstances as they provide opportunities for you to see the almighty God of the universe in action. May your faith be strengthened and your love of God deepened as you journey through 2015 with him!
Dr. John Shultz serves as President of Ashland Theological Seminary and Professor of Counseling.
Thank you Dr. Shultz for remind us about the immense power of God! His power is beyond measure!