The Power of God

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For the last week I have been living in a small village on the s.w. coast of Ireland. Every day and every night we have endured an endless series of storms from off of the Atlantic. They have been charged with gale force winds and lashing rains. The damage done to the coastlines that these winds, and by the heavy seas they’ve built up before them, is incomprehensible. Countless trees across the entire country have been torn apart, or toppled from their roots. Houses have lost roofs, coastal roads have been washed out, rivers all over the country are out of their banks. In one village along the coast, a couple that had gone down to the sea’s edge, out of curiosity, to watch the immensity and power in the 50-60 foot waves crashing ashore in their mighty legions, were simply swept away by the sea. People said that one moment they were there, and in the next, they were gone.

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When we witness the power of nature like this we are, quite naturally, humbled. We, if only briefly, realize our smallness in this world. We experience the same thing when we look up into the immensity of a star-studded sky at night. But the truth is that all of that power in a raging, gale force storm, and all of that immensity we witness in the universe on a starry night, is as nothing in comparison to the power of God, who created it all.

ʺThe heavens declare the glory of God;
the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.ʺ (Psalm 19:2)

God’s power is greater than all of that in nature on earth, or in the heavens. God’s power is also more intimate. It is not the seemingly heartless power of nature, or the cold indifference of space. Rather:

ʺFor as the heavens tower over the earth,
so his mercy towers over those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our sins from us.ʺ (Psalm 103:11-12)

Indeed, so great is God’s power that he, ʺWho, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness: and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.ʺ Now, that’s a power worthy of bending our knees to. It is because of this power that we who were lost, have been found. It is because of this power that both sin and death have been conquered.

Yes, nature is powerful, but its power points to a power much greater than itself. Nature, too, must bend to this power. Remember Jesus calming the winds that threatened to swamp the boat the apostles were in? ʺThen he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.ʺ (Matthew 8:26) It is good to bend to this power. It is good to recognize our humility in God’s presence. For our submission to the will of God is the one truth that, finally, sets us free. Thanks be to the omnipotent, unconditional power of Love that is our God.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.