The God of little things

God loves us now. He does not withhold His love and approval until we achieve something. Created in His likeness and being, we are already worthy and loveable in His eyes.

Sep 08, 2023

When we live in a world so dominated by social media, it is hard not to feel that the grass is greener on the other side.

We see attractive couples who seemingly are living their best lives on camera, appearing to be completely devoted to each other and their relationship. We try out recipes which social media influencers assure us are easy as one-two-three, only to produce blobs that look nothing like the purportedly easy bake dessert or frozen treat.

Every place on the Internet seems to feature people in control of their lives: 60-something flabby women who took up weight training and who are now single digit dress sizes, couch potatoes whose new dog sparked an exercise revolution that turned them into marathon runners, thrift shop hunters who chanced on a priceless piece of whatever century French furniture which turned out to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, septuagenarians who went back to school to finish SPM … the list goes on.

These stories may make for great content, but a constant bombardment of them (and it is truly easy to overdose on social media consumption without knowing), can make an average Joan feel pretty inconsequential. No one makes content about mothers who work 10-hour days, and then come back to clean and vacuum, and stay up tending to a feverish child. There’s no views to be had for an older single man who continues to live at home because he is his elderly father’s only help and caretaker. No one is inspired by an 81-year old widower who continues to serve as a warden in church. It truly seems that unless one is beautiful, or has come through dire circumstances in life and triumphed, the simple act of simply being means naught.

And yet, God draws from the ordinary. Apart from the awe and wonder of the creation story — a universe and a world in six days! — God has always looked to the small and insignificant when He wanted to make big impressions. From the simple girl whose fanfare-less ‘yes’ led to a saviour being born, to the homespun regularity of her earthly spouse who knew little beyond carpentry, and yet became the patron saint of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers, travellers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers and working people, our God has always looked to the humble in which to create great things.

In a world where professionals are urged to upskill and recertify in order to remain on top of their game, in a society where politicians who shout the loudest get the most airtime, and where perfect Instagram photos mask the fracture within families and relationships, we must consistently remind ourselves that we are worthy as we are, for who we are.

God loves us now. He does not withhold His love and approval until we achieve something. Created in His likeness and being, we are already worthy and loveable in His eyes. God has no interest in great and grandiose gestures of love, because He is love Himself. Just as it is impossible for us to make the ocean wetter by emptying a litre of water into it, God does not need sweeping protestations of love to give us love. And we are loved whether we deserve it or not. Like the father of the prodigal son, like the father of the two boys who were told to go to work in their father’s vineyard, God knows our faults, and chooses to love us anyway.

He is constantly seeking to communicate that love. Which is why it is important for us to regulate social media consumption, and try to achieve some form of spiritual and secular balance. While the God of the burning bush is still the God of today, His calls to us are far less flashy these days.

One of my favourite passages in the Old Testament is 1 Kings 19:11-13, which tells the story of Elijah seeking God.

Because he has walked so long with God, Elijah knows the heart of God, and thus is unmoved at the sound of violent wind, daunting earthquake, and conflagration. Only at the sound of a gentle breeze does the prophet shield his face with his cloak, and venture out to meet God.

Elijah knew from the powerful works of wonder performed by the Lord, that God is indeed magnificent and awe inspiring. But his intimacy with God also taught Elijah how to recognise God’s gentleness.

In this time of social media bombardment, we need to see God in the small and unobtrusive. God’s love, His guidance, the wisdom He choses to impart to us is many times communicated in little ways. Waking up mobile in spite of being overweight, seeing through clear eyes despite the threat of diabetes, are just a few of the ways God shows grace to His children.

God continues to speak to us in a myriad of ways: a homily from a visiting priest which makes us sit up and take notice, advice from a friend who had hitherto always minded their business, Scripture shared by a neighbour, the kindness of strangers, all these are ways God proves He continues to bless and be with us. It is only whether we can recognise Him in the little things.

(Karen-Michaela Tan is a poet, writer and editor who seeks out God’s presence in the human condition and looks for ways to put the Word of God into real action.)

Total Comments:0