Inching through the cynicism


I have no problem with the concept that God is big. I can even understand that God is infinitely big.

I have difficulty with the concept that God is infinitely small.

I think this has to do with my family, who made God responsible for everything. The parking space close to the supermarket entrance or a 50% off sale at the dress shop, always deserved an accompanying, “Praise Jesus.” A couple of years ago, a relative of mine told me that God provided a McDonald’s on the exit of I-95, just when she needed it.

It was, for her, an absolutely spiritual experience, but it took everything within me not to say, “But there is a McDonald’s off of every I-95 exit, and that fact has very little to do with God.”

In our home, God was often used as the justification for a big project or business start-up. Most of them didn’t pan out. Which made me wonder if we were thinking about things in the best way.

Of course, who am I to question my parents? It was their time, their money, and their hungry stomach at the highway exit. I only bring it up because it left me with a cynicism that’s been awfully hard to break.

As a result, I have no problem with imagining that God created the vast heavens, but I have more difficulty when I pray, and I sense that God might be answering. I worry that I might use God as my personal genie or as the justification of my own off-the-wall schemes.

My inner critic constantly asks, Why would God be so interested in what you’re up to? Shouldn’t God be in Sudan right now? Shouldn’t God be working magic in war-torn regions, with the victims of genocide? Don’t you think God’s a lot bigger than this?

This morning, we were loafing about at the camp. I sat by the side of a stream, under a giant rock. My daughter splashed in the water, while my husband snoozed beside me. I watched an amazing inchworm travel slowly across my white towel. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, really. It was fascinating, seeing his hind legs hold on to a towel loop, while his front legs looked for the next one that he might cling to.

While my eyes were down there, I looked at the collection of rocks, shell, and algae at my feet. The assemblage was miniscule and beautiful. It reminded of God’s presence. God, who was not only there in the great sky, the vast rock, but also in the tiny caterpillar, inching with determination across the foreign bleached terrain.

It was good for me to remember that God could work, through the big things, through the small things, and perhaps even through me.


3 thoughts on “Inching through the cynicism

  1. A brief recommendation for some reflections on God and the very, very small: Quantum Theology by Diarmuid O’Murchu (I think I spelled that right). Cool stuff if you like the science of unimaginably small things 🙂

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