It’s not easy to be small. Most young children are eager to become “big kids.” Teenagers want to be treated as adults. We live in a society in which we want to be big, strong, and powerful, not small, weak, and powerless. While growing up, I was usually the tallest kid in my elementary school classes. Most of the time I like being tall, except when I need to squeeze into a too-small airline seat.
Last week I went to the coast for a few days for a private retreat. It was refreshing to get away from all the household tasks that surround me even during my sabbatical. Each morning I went for a long walk on the beach. There were very few other people around, and it was beautiful and peaceful. As I walked on the beach, I reflected on how insignificant we are in comparison to the ocean waves. When a big wave is coming in, we can either get out of the way or get wet. We can’t stop the wave. We can’t even slow it down.
The power of the waves reminds us of our place in the universe. In this photo there is a tiny speck on the horizon. (To see it you need to click on the photo to see a larger image.) That speck is another person I passed walking on the beach. That’s how small we are in relation to the forces of nature. Despite our hubris, we can’t control everything around us. We need to acknowledge our limits and trust the one who is truly in control.
God’s glory is declared in his creation (Ps. 19:1) and that his power and divine nature are evident in the things that he has made (Rom. 1:20). We learn something valuable about God from the natural world around us. The power of the waves teach us about God’s power.
Embracing our smallness is part of the posture of humility that Jesus said is necessary to enter the kingdom of God (Mat. 18:1-4). There are many things that we can and should manage. But other things are beyond our control. In all things we need to trust in our heavenly Father who hold all things in his hands.