An Olympic Lesson in God's Omnipotence

An Olympic Lesson in God's Omnipotence

Sad to see the Olympics end?

Every other year, whether Winter Games or Summer, it's thrilling when the Olympics arrive and captivate the world's collective attention for two full weeks. But most of us are at least a little glum to see them go, even if it does mean we finally get to catch up on some sleep.

There's a bigness to the Olympiad that fascinates us. It comes with a kind of transcendence that taps into a profound longing in the human soul. On display are the world's best athletes. From most of the world's geopolitical nations. The world's eye fixed on a single object as is rarely the case outside of war. From our limited vantage, few things seem to bring out humanity's oneness, and feel as globally significant in a good way, as the Olympic Games.

But as great as the Olympics are, there is something infinitely greater — Someone infinitely greater. The grandeur of the Games points us to the grandeur of God. The taste of transcendence they bring helps us see there's a Bigness and Magnitude that doesn't come and go for a couple weeks every couple years, but is here for our enjoyment forever — together with people from every tribe and tongue and nation.

John Piper helps us learn this Olympic lesson in the omnipotence of God:

During the Summer Olympics one of the camera maneuvers taught me something about the greatness of God. The opening and closing ceremonies were thrilling to most of the people who saw them. The sheer magnitude of the crowds and fireworks and music were a once-in-a-lifetime experience of bigness and grandeur.

Those of us who watched it on television could feel some of the thrill when the camera was high enough to take in the whole great sweep of the coliseum. But then something strange happened. The camera continued to recede into the sky where it was perched in the helicopter, and the coliseum became smaller and smaller until it was just a blurry dot on the ground.

As I watched that happen I was filled with joy in the greatness of God. I said to myself, "Look how thrilled we are with a coliseum full of color and sound. Look how we stand in wonder. Look how we shout and clap and feel excitement at the splendor of it all. But look again from God's perspective. Compared to his power and splendor, it's a blurry dot on the ground."

God puts on a minor display of his strength and splendor every morning as he brings the sun up over the horizon — 865,000 miles thick, 1.3 million times heavier than the earth, blazing on its cool edges at one million degrees Centigrade! Every morning has its opening ceremonies to thrill us with the power and the glory of God and fill us with hope that one day we will enter a land where all the wonders that have inspired us on this little earth will be like blurry dots in comparison with the magnificence of God's eternal closing ceremonies.

And every night God puts out a little puppet show of his majesty in the sky, with Perseus and Andromeda and Hercules and Orion and Leo the Lion and Draco the Dragon sporting about in the local galaxy 100,000 light years across.

"Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge." And what they teach so forcefully is that God is infinite in power. Nothing that has ever awed you can compare to him. He is God Almighty! Nothing can stay his hand. He does whatever he pleases. He is the Potter and the universe is his clay.

Excerpted from the sermon, My Name Is God Almighty.


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David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.