In the early days of the charismatic movement, we used to sing a song based on the AV translation of the Magnificat, Mary’s song. It started with the words that always puzzled me ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord…..’ I understood the sentiment but I didn’t think you could make God any bigger than He was. So why magnify Him?
The penny dropped recently when I realised that when we magnify something, we don’t make that thing bigger, but we put a lens in front of our eye in order to see better all the intricate detail not seen by the naked eye. If we think about viewing an insect or flower, magnifying it is actually about seeing more clearly what is there, seeing something in all its magnificence.
It can work negatively too. We are often very good at magnifying our problems, Worry for example magnifies our difficulties, and as we ruminate and focus on them the detail becomes larger and we can see them as quite overwhelming.
I was encouraged recently by a quote from Mark Buchanans’ Book ‘The Rest of God’. It was passed on to me by a friend, and it said “thankfulness is a secret passageway into a room you can’t find any other way…. It allows us to discover the rest of God–those dimensions of God’s world, God’s presence, God’s character that are hidden, always, from the thankless”.*
Yes I thought, that is what I am realising. Giving thanks magnifies the goodness and kindness of God. Thanksgiving acts as our magnifying glass and we see those dimensions of Gods’ character that are hidden to the ungrateful eye.
In these covid pandemic days, the news media place a lot of bad news under the microscope. We must therefore, while not burying our heads in the sand, choose carefully what we are magnifying. As we continue with our theme of thanksgiving, let us take some time to ‘magnify’ an aspect of God that we so need at this time, and let us give Him our heartfelt thanks , that His ‘goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life’ Psalm 23:6
It is worth noting that the word ‘follow’ in the last verse of psalm 23 is not the ‘sneaking after you in the shadows’ kind of following, nor is it the kind of following that arrives too late!! It is the very active ‘pursuing after you’ kind of following. Goodness and mercy are following you and you won’t shake them off, because it’s the Lord Himself.
Let us thank God for this amazing truth about His love and intention towards us. If we can look back and recognise and thank Him for all the ways in which this has been true in our lives in the past, we will be putting a magnifying lens on Him, and so be building our faith for the future. We’ll know that however uncertain life looks, He will be there in it, with His goodness and mercy directed towards us.
*Mark Buchanan ‘The Rest of God’ Nashville ; Nelson 2006