I don’t like small talk. I like to think that I am average at participating in the activity, but I tend to see it as a means to an end. To me, it is a simple establishment of basic structures so that deeper, more meaningful conversation can eventually take place. Think of it like setting up scaffolding so that serious, permanent construction can be completed.
While I’m willing to engage in small talk for a short period of time, I cannot maintain it inevitably. I’ve realized that when I find people and relationships that are never willing to move beyond surface discussions and general small talk, I find it increasingly difficult to maintain engagement. It is difficult to continue meaningful investment in both the conversation and the relationship as a whole, beyond what it already is.
Perhaps this is one of the contributing factors to why I am so energized the more I wrestle with the tension points of God. As I mentioned in my last post, “… If we are willing to look at Jesus, openly and honestly … then we will see that in Jesus, we find tension points!”
One of those particular tension points is that while God is knowable and wants to be known, He is also mysterious, and His ways are beyond us. He is bigger than small talk and deeper than surface conversations. This is a tension point that the more I wrestle with and investigate, the deeper my love, fear, hope and worship for God grows. It’s not that He is not interested in our small talk, but that there is so much more to Him and our relationship than that!
The key is to understand that there are things of Him that can be known, but the full comprehension is beyond us. And while we can know Him in a relationship and grow in that knowing, we cannot fully grasp all that He is or completely understand His ways.
In Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV) we read, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
But we also see in Deuteronomy 29:29 (NIV): “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
Even here, there is a clear separation between that which we cannot know or grasp, and the things that are revealed to us and are to be treasured (and followed)!
It’s this tension point that, as someone who has chosen to give my life to the King, to Jesus my Savior, I find to be so beautiful and so compelling! It is because I am loved personally, deeply, sacrificially and wholly. But I am also equally aware that the God of all, the Creator, the One who holds the universe in the small of His hand, is more than the greatest minds can ever fully comprehend or define.
I love the way Frederick M. Lehman wrestled with this tension in his old hymn, “The Love of God.” In the third verse, he writes (compliments of a Jewish songwriter written nearly 1,000 years earlier):
“Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.”
This week, you may find yourself in need of comfort, of grace or of love that can only come from a deep personal relationship. You might also find yourself in need of hope, wisdom or a miracle. Whatever you find yourself in need of, it can all be found in God, who knows you, formed you, saved you and loves you. The One who is bigger than any trial, temptation or struggle we face is also holding us close as we walk through the middle of it!
So let this be a prayer for you:
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. – Ephesians 1:15-22