Let’s talk about Rene Roussimoff. Born in 1946 in Grenoble, France, you probably know him by his professional name: Andre the Giant.
For most of the 1980s, Andre the Giant took earth-trembling strides across the pop culture landscape, both as a professional wrestler and as Fezzik, the giant in “The Princess Bride,” one of my all-time favorite movies.
I watched a documentary on Andre the Giant recently and was reminded of just how large and strong a human being he was. He stood 7-foot-4 and weighed over 500 pounds.
In an interview, Arnold Schwarzenegger told a story of Andre and him at dinner one night. At the end of the meal, they both wanted to pay for the check and began arguing. After several minutes of back and forth, Schwarzenegger, also known as Mr. Universe and the Terminator, said Andre picked him up, while he was still in his chair, and placed him and the chair on top of the dinner table. That ended the debate!
Andre the Giant was a large human being. He spent most of his life looking down on people, having clothing specially made, and living and traveling in a world not designed to accommodate him. But the thing about “large” is it’s a relative term.
My family and I just spent a couple of weeks in Nevada and California, and we were blessed with the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon. Neither photographs, video or statistics can truly capture the majesty and scope of this natural wonder, but here are some numbers anyway:
• The canyon’s total size is 1.2 million acres or 1.9 thousand square miles.
• Its depth is an average of 1 mile.
• Its volume is 5.45 trillion cubic yards.
Even when you are at the Grand Canyon, you cannot take in the entire canyon with your eyes. It stretches too far and too wide. You simply stand and gape and attempt to process the sheer enormity of what is in front of you.
For Jesus followers, this is where the relativity of large comes in.
Like every person reading this, the Womack family has its problems and concerns. Our older daughter spent much of our vacation doing remote schoolwork in her last, stress-packed year of college. We went out West to drop our younger daughter off at the mission field, only to see her experience some significant health issues on the trip. There have been times when these (and other) challenges have loomed over us, and their size has seemed to block out the sun.
And yet, the proper perspective can knock the mightiest giants to their knees. Imagine for a moment a camera is focused a few feet in front of Andre the Giant. His frame fills your vision. But then, the camera slowly pulls away and upward. As you move further away, it is revealed that he is standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Within seconds, he is a tiny speck, and even hundreds of feet in the air, it is impossible to fit the entirety of the canyon onto the screen.
What I am not suggesting is that our concerns in this life are small. The psalmist wrote many psalms about being in desperate situations; his anguish was real and so are the trials we face.
What I am suggesting is that even though my analogy is imperfect, because the Grand Canyon is a relatively small part of one state in one country in one planet in one solar system, God Almighty, our Creator and Redeemer, spoke it into existence and then went on about His day! And the same psalmist wrote this about God in Psalm 139:7-10:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
The concept of infinity is one that our human minds cannot truly grasp because our entire earthly existence is bracketed by beginnings and endings. (If you think you really understand infinity, I can only quote the wisdom of Fezzik: “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”)
Here are a few places in the Bible where writers, inspired by the One who is infinite, attempted to describe infinity:
“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5 NASB).
“Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3 NASB).
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Revelation 1:8).
“‘But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?’” (2 Chronicles 2:6).
Jesus promised us that in this world we would have trouble. While we are going through it, that trouble can take on gargantuan proportions. May we all take care not to stay focused on the giant in front of us at the expense of God’s vast sovereignty and providence and love for us.
Paul said it well in 1 Corinthians 2:9: “However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
God’s size, power and love for us? “It’s inconceivable!”
Bill Womack has been a member of Southeast Christian Church since 1997.