1Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.—Psalm 90:1-4
Transcendence is an important concept to understand. It’s even more important to come face to face with transcendence. I experience transcendence when what God has made reminds me how little I am. I stand on the shore of an ocean and realize that there are worlds underneath the waves. I look up from the base of a mountain and am reminded, “Before the mountains werebrought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalms 90:2). To experience the transcendent is to sense your smallness. By that I don’t mean transcendence makes me feel belittled or self-deprecating.
A true encounter with the God of the universe makes me feel gladly small, perfectly puny, and happily so, in my assigned place and actual size! A true experience of eternity leaves us feeling, as C. S. Lewis said, “the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life” (Mere Christianity). Transcendence is a healthy dose of insignificance to a race whose root sin is pride. Transcendence cuts us all down to our proper proportion before an awesome God. That you and I are not significant is a wonderful, freeing discovery, and that’s what church is for. To bring us face to face with God and discover not only that we’re no match for Him but that He longs to give to us all that we could never gain on our own.
I experience transcendence when all that is knowable reminds me how little I know. I have an earned doctorate, which means I have been to more school than most, and have read a lot beyond that, but I’ve learned with Solomon that expanding knowledge also teaches one there is no end to our lack of knowledge. In seeking to make eternity understandable, I realized again that the sum of my knowing is fractional and miniscule. I’m reminded that we should live with the awareness that the God who “upholds the universe bythe word of his power”(Hebrews 1:3) established it all and holds it all together (see Colossians 1:17).
· Does the reality of transcendence draw me to God or cause me to run from Him?
· What is it about the difference between me and God that causes me to reach for Him?
Prayer – Father in heaven, I live on the yawning chasm of eternity and would be terrified if You had not told me I can trust You beyond what I can see or fear. Lord, trust doesn’t matter a lot until we get serious about the unknown—which is so much of life. I long to trust You more. I long to live each day in the hope that You have everything in hand and will take care of me no matter what happens. Thank You for the hope I have, only in Christ. In His name I pray, Amen.