Greater Than

Mar 20, 2024 by Colleen C Orchanian

I’m teaching 5-year-old Noah how to use the “greater than” sign in math. For some reason, this was a difficult concept for me as a child. I had trouble remembering which side of the symbol went with the biggest number. I understand it now and wonder why it was so difficult before. Obviously, the biggest side goes with the biggest number.

This challenge I faced in my (very much) younger days is similar to my difficulty recognizing the “greater than” concept in my faith life. We all might acknowledge that God is greater than anything or anyone. But when it comes to the practical application of that idea to our spiritual life, we may not be so certain.

In John chapter 5, Jesus says that John the Baptist was great – a shining light – but He (Jesus) was greater. Jesus also said he was greater than Moses, in whom Israel put their trust. Jesus was greater than all the heroes of Israel throughout time. The Pharisees didn’t agree – they didn’t get it. We, 2,000 years later, still may not know how great God is. What is He greater than?

God’s power is greater than my human potential and my weaknesses. Jesus said, With God all things are possible. I knew nothing about doing a podcast or writing a book, but here I am doing a weekly podcast and working on my third book. I could not do this without God's power; it would be impossible. I am called to be holy, but in my human weakness, I fall short – a lot. When life gets overwhelming and I think I have nothing left, God gives me more. In my weakness, He is strong. I lean on his great power.

God’s power is greater than the evil in the world, and there is a lot of evil in the world. I can get discouraged by that and think that evil is greater than God. That’s a lie of the enemy. God takes evil and brings something good out of it. John’s Gospel tells us that the light came into the world and the darkness cannot overcome it. The light will always be greater.

God’s generosity is greater than my prayer requests. I might pray for something small, and God responds with abundant gifts. When there wasn’t enough food for the 5,000, Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes so much that there were baskets of food left over. He provided more than what was needed. When we hesitate to pray for the big things, do we doubt the greatness of God’s generosity?

God’s beauty is greater than any earthly beauty. An amazing sunrise, a brilliant double rainbow, an inspired piece of music like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and a breathtaking piece of art like the Pieta. The beauty of these earthly things can’t hold a candle to the beauty of God. Scripture tells us eye has not seen, ear has not heard. People who have had near-death experiences say there are no words to describe the beauty of what they saw and heard. That’s how great it is.

God’s faithfulness and patience are greater than mine. He is always faithful. I stumble. Sometimes I am afraid and don’t speak His truth into the world. Jesus always spoke the Truth and was killed for it. God waits for me to listen while I keep on talking. He is a patient God. I want things now and God makes me wait. I will never have more faithfulness or patience than God. He will always be greater.

God the Father is greater than any earthly father. No matter how wonderful your father is, our Father God is greater. If you didn’t have a good father, or maybe you had no father, it can be hard to imagine a good one. On the Abiding Together podcast, one of the hosts suggested finding a fictional good father – a character in a book or on a TV show and using them as a gateway to seeing God as a good father. Whatever our earthly father image, we know that God will be even greater.

God’s love is greater than any human love. His love for me is greater than my own love for me. He always desires my good; I have been known to do things that were not in my own best interests. His love for my family is greater than my love for them. I may worry about them, but I trust in God’s love for them. His love for me is greater than anyone else’s love for me. We humans want to be loved, and we often find that human love disappoints. Our spouses can’t love us perfectly. Our children can’t love us perfectly. Our friends can’t love us perfectly, and neither can we love them perfectly. Only God loves perfectly. His love is always greater than ours.

God’s mercy is greater than our sins. We can be filled with shame about the stupid, sinful acts of our past. Those we have hurt may not forgive us and we might think God won’t forgive either, but that’s a lie of the enemy. God’s mercy is so great, greater than any sin we have ever committed or will ever commit. We need only turn back to God like the Prodigal Son and He will come running to meet us. His mercy is that great.

God’s healing power is greater than our wounds. We get wounded in life. People lie to us, betray us, are ugly to us, use and abuse us, attack us, neglect us, and abandon us. God never does that. Instead, He heals those wounds if we allow it. The worst thing that ever happened to us can be healed by our great God.

God’s suffering is greater than my crosses. Jesus suffered on the cross for my sins. He was innocent. I, like the good thief on the cross, deserve my punishment. I might like to whine about my cross, but Jesus didn’t. He embraced it because it was the instrument of our salvation. Can my cross be an instrument of someone else’s salvation? Paul tells us to unite our suffering to that of Jesus on the cross. Then my suffering becomes redemptive. God’s suffering will always be greater.

God is greater than. One day we will understand that greatness in its fullness – when we get to Heaven – or for some when they go to Hell. Either way, we will know how great God is. When Jesus was transfigured, His glory was so great that Peter, James, and John fell on their faces. This is an example of Fear of the Lord, the awe that we experience in the presence of God when we see His face. Then we will know fully, in every fiber of our being, the greatness of God.

Yet, even now, while walking this earth, we can gain a deeper knowledge of God’s greatness. My actions demonstrate what I believe. If I doubt His love, I don’t love myself or others. If I doubt His power, I don’t attempt to change myself or the world. If I doubt His healing touch, I don’t seek to be healed. If I doubt His beauty, I see only the world's darkness. If I doubt His faithfulness, I will keep trying to do it all by myself. If I doubt His generosity, I won’t ask for help. If I doubt His mercy, I will remain in my sins, and that’s a terrible place to be.

God is greater than all of that. May we embrace His greatness and live the abundant life He promises to us.

Questions for prayer:

  1. Is there an aspect of God’s greatness that you doubt? Why?

  2. What would it mean to embrace one of the truths about God’s greatness? What difference would it make in your life?