A Baby in a Bucket on the Beach: A Lesson on Theological Humility


We got to spend some time at the beach recently with our daughter, Emily.  Emily is 17 months old now, and this was her first trip to the beach (and our first trip to the beach with a baby).  It might seem obvious, but we learned thatgoing to the beach with a 1 year old is much different than going to the beach B.C. (before children).   

When we got back someone told me, “Well it sure looks like your sunscreen worked well.”  Thanks…   
But the truth is, with a 1 year old, it takes an hour to get ready, you only spend a couple hours on the beach before all the signs begin to clearly communicate that beach time is over (you parents know what these signs are) and then it takes an hour to clean everything up once you get home.  On top of that, most of those two hours spent at the beach is spent under the shade of an umbrella!
Nevertheless, it was fascinating to see Emily’s progression as she slowly became more and more comfortable there.  On the first day, we tried to just put her down on the sand and as we’d lower her toward the sand she would raise her legs up higher and higher.   
She did not want to touch it.  
Finally we got her to sit on a towel under the umbrella and I brought a bucket of ocean water to her with some toys.  On that first day, she didn’t quite get the concept of adding the water to the sand and playing with the wet sand.  But she loved the bucket filled with water!  In fact, she loved it so much she decided to stand in it.  And when she did, she would get this huge smile on her face like that was the coolest thing in the world.

And I thought to myself, “Wow, here is this innocent little girl, standing in a tiny bucket of water up to her shins, happy as can be, not realizing that an entire ocean of water is just several yards away from her.”
I think sometimes we do this with God.  Over time we form concepts of God in our minds that become our small buckets of water.  And we become comfortable with the bucket of water that we’ve formed and filled.  It’s a very safe space to exist, away from the waves, under the shade of the umbrella.  But what we fail to realize is the enormity of the ocean from which that water came in the first place.  
You see, God isn’t the bucket of water.  That might be our understanding or our conceptof God.  But God is the ocean—SO much bigger than we could ever grasp.
May we be humbled by the enormity of our Creator and pray for the courage to recognize the limits of our own theological buckets.  God is so much bigger…
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