Ansell: If God is so big, why do we live such shallow spiritual lives?

Ken Ansell
Special to the Daily Light

I grew up in the church (PTL) and I grew up singing, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there is a fountain flowing deep and wide.” 

I also grew up going to the community pool when visiting my grandparents and I remember the kiddie pool. As an older child I would run through it and the water was warm and comfortable. It was always tempting to stay in that shallow water. 

Ken Ansell

My celebrity pastor friend says if you have ever stood before God and not been scared then you have never stood before God. We should not be afraid of God but I get his point. The Bible says God is the start and the finish, therefore God must be big. But if God is so big, why do we live such shallow spiritual lives?

It makes me think about that old gospel song, "Just a Little Talk with Jesus". I’m not sure that’s how I would phrase something as imperative as prayer and I don’t think any conversation with Jesus is little. Maybe it’s me but I don’t like the idea that we “tell” Him all about our troubles (before you get mad I understand I Peter 5:7 that tells us to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.”) or that when we do He makes things right. 

What I’m saying is God tells me, “No,” more often than He tells me, “Yes.” It’s not because He doesn’t like me, but rather because He always does what is best versus what I might consider “right” or “needed.”

I get a lot of prayer requests, it’s an occupational hazard. What bums me out is that most of the things people want me to pray about are typically not significant (shallow) and very rarely what we might call spiritual (deep). What I am saying is I have not been asked to pray for a lost soul in a long time. Last time I checked, the church was still in the eternity business.

There is a funny story about a kid who failed to study for his geography test. The teacher asked what was the capital of Texas. The little boy did not know the answer so he prayed, “Dear Lord, let El Paso be the capital of Texas."

That prayer is probably not going to get “answered.”  

I saw a church sign the other day that said, “God’s Got Your Back.” I guess that’s true, but God is not here for you per se, we are here for God. To think otherwise would be shallow.

The Apostle Paul tells the church at Ephesus that he wants us to know the “breadth and length and height and depth (think deep end of the pool),” of God’s love. Paul continues to say, God is able to do far more than we can ask or think. If that’s true (and it is) why would we settle for a god who is petty, more concerned about the temporal and answers prayers more like a genie who has given out three wishes and our wishes are his commands. In fact, Jesus gives us the formula for a stout prayer life when He shares that He will do what we ask if it glorifies the Father (John 14:13). 

I also grew up singing, “I serve a risen Savior.” The critical words are, “I serve.” I’m here for His deep pleasure and His wide glory. He told me to tell you that.