When God Is Small, Everything Else Is Big

Text: Luke 21:25-36

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

It has been said before that when people stop fearing God, they become afraid of everything else in the world.  That is to say; when God is big, everything else in the world seems to be small.  But when God is small, everything in the world seems to be big.  And when everything in the world is big; well, we feel small and begin to be consumed by fear. 

But we do not like to feel fear, do we?  Fear causes us to have stress.  And stress causes us to sweat, tremble, and have shortness of breath.  And when this happens, we have an increased heart rate, which ultimately brings about anxiety, butterflies in the stomach, and the possibility of fainting. 

And so we do everything possible to offset this fear.  We buy insurance, we lock our doors, and we look over our shoulders.  We also put blinders on in the morning to avoid seeing these big problems of life.  And at night?  We turn the nightly news off to avoid hearing all the natural disasters in the world. 

And there is more! 

To avoid feeling small and to avoid the big scary things of life, we demand that everyone else around us be positive and happy too, lest we are triggered, resulting in fear returning. Indeed, we insist that the glass must always be half full, not half empty.  Everyone must wear rose-colored glasses and focus on happy thoughts.  We mustn’t allow fear an opportunity to creep into our lives.  

But no matter how hard we try, life has a way of getting at us.  If it isn't trouble in our family and work, then politics or economic downturns have a way of getting at us.  And if not politics and the economy, then it is fires, tornados, earthquakes, blizzards, and disease that most certainly instill fear.    

Now, what we must keep in mind is that all of these things that bring about fear in our lives are signs.  These signs are found in all areas of life.  The catch though, as previously mentioned these signs eventually get to us and rattle our cages.  They cause us to feel small.  They humble us.  They bring us to the reality of our mortality, which brings about fear.  These signs act like judgments upon us; they point out the reality that we are powerless-small-poor-sinners in a big and vast world.       

Dear friends, as stated earlier, if the Lord is small in your life, then everything else is big.  And when big signs happen in life, like natural disasters and national tragedies, it makes sense why you get so incredibly petrified by fear.  It makes sense why you want to hang your head low to try to block out that which is too big and scary to handle.      

But keep in mind, though, that things are even worse for unbelievers – pagans, that is.  For example, unbelievers are not only consumed with fear due to these signs, but the idea of our Lord’s return and the end of the world is greeted not with joy and excitement but with fear. Indeed, the Book of Hebrews is right when it says,

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." 

And so their fear of unbelievers is justified.  It makes sense why they are fearful when they look at the disastrous signs and Jesus’ second coming.

On the other hand, when God is big, everything else in life is small.  While the pagan unbeliever fears the end of the world and the end of life, this is not true for you as the baptized child of God.  You see when the world is turned upside down, and when these disastrous signs break loose, you do not need to fear.  And you certainly do not need a safe space, for you have the One who has commanding authority over all these signs.  The One who created the heavens and the earth created you, forgives you, holds you, and is coming back for you.  Why fear these disastrous signs when you know that the Lord holds the beginning and the end of life?    

Dear friends, we must keep in mind that these signs in life are doing something more than just imparting fear.  These signs are like warnings; they call us to account.  That is to say; behind all of these signs are ultimately the judgment of God upon sinful mankind.  What this means then is that behind all of the fears of mankind lies the fear of God’s judgment. 

Let us pause here for a moment and consider this thought.  God made all the powers of the heaven and earth to endure.  However, after Adam and Eve fell into sin in Genesis chapter 3, God warned that these great powers would be shaken.  And so, we have eclipses, earthquakes, natural disasters, wars, rumors of wars, and so on.  And, as you already know, these signs frighten us.  They shake us; which they should.  But being shaken and alarmed is not necessarily bad, for this is God’s way of warning mankind that the time of grace and mercy will suddenly come to an end at some point.  These signs are God’s way to prepare people for Jesus’ second coming.  

And so, even though the whole world is filled with fear and everyone is hanging their head low, you though, shall not fear but rather shall life up your heads!  Why?  Because your Lord is big! Because you are marked with the blood of the Lamb!  Because your Lord Jesus Christ is on your side.  Because the one who created all things, in the beginning, holds all things in the end. Because salvation draws near to you! 

Dear Baptized Saints, the agony of our dying world and the cries of creation, all point to the Crucified and Risen Jesus Christ who will return as our Savior.  And so the problems, calamities, disasters, and tragedies of life do not cause you to scramble around frantically looking for a hole to put your head into like an ostrich.  But rather, these signs cause you to lift up your heads and eagerly await your Savior’s return.  Because your Lord is big and because you belong to Him, every sign which points to the end of the world does not fill you with fear, but fills your hearts with joy and hope, for you know that the Lord has come, continues to come, and will come to you with great power and might at the last day! 

And so, what this means is that you and I are not waiting with fear and our eyes gazing towards the here now, as if some great powerful utopia society will someday appear.  We are not consumed with dreams and silly goals of  a perfect government, with perfect human love, and a perfect economy in a perfect environment.  Indeed, we know that there is no such thing as an age of tranquility and peace undisturbed by the attacks of the devil and the freedom of the sinful nature, this side of heaven.  We know that unbelievers, sin, and the agony of our dying world will continue right up until the Lord’s return.  We do not find hope in utopia fairytales, for they are as real as unicorns.     

And so, we wait in hope here and now. We await in hope with our heads not tilted towards the shadows or the silly dreams of mankind.  But rather we await in hope with our heads lifted unto the Lord!

And as we lift our heads, we hear and receive Jesus in His Word and Sacraments.  That is right; in spite of all the sin, calamity, terror, and fear, we know that Christ is here for us!  Regardless of good times, bad times, sickness, or health we know that Christ is here for us in His Word and Sacraments!  We know that Christ is coming back to take us home someday to make all things right.  And so we lift up our heads! 

Dear Baptized Saints!  Lift up your heads this day!  Hear, receive, eat and drink!  When you hear and see these signs, straighten up!  Do not fear; hold your head high – Christ is here for you and Christ is coming back for you! 

He is bigger than the world; He is bigger than you.  And so you need not fear.  You need not to worry.  You need not fret.  His steadfast love endures forever.

We lift up our heads; we lift them unto the Lord. 

In the name of Jesus: Amen.   

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