Big Things and Little Things: Are They All the Same?

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By Emily Sorensen

“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things. It is we, of course, to whom things look ‘little’ or ‘big’.” –Elisabeth Elliot 

College has taught me that God is a God of the little things. Just in the past two weeks I felt a slight tug at my hamstring during track practice. It slowed me down for five days. Five days to a runner is quite a bit of training. As I drove to work during those five days, I was telling God that “God, I really am not done with my college track career. I wanted to compete well in the last month I have.” And that’s when it hit me. I had not had the attitude of finishing as strong as possible in my track career, I was coasting it out. But when God took the ability away from me, He was proving His point – I need to finish well. God uses hamstrings. 

My sophomore year, college was really hard for me. I couldn’t seem to find my place in the big world of Northwestern. God led me to find and write down every single good thing that happened during the day for a week: no matter how ‘big’ or ‘little’. Whether it was someone smiling at me, my favorite food for lunch, or having fun at track practice. Every good encounter. God showed me that He is enough and is everywhere, and that I don’t need to fit in to be happy. I need to be following Him and to be thankful. God uses the disappointment of college not living up to the hype. 

God led me to serve at a summer camp in Alaska after my freshman year that I found on the Internet. I didn’t know anything about the camp, I didn’t know anyone there, and I had never heard of it until Google. I wouldn’t trade that summer, though. The people I met, creation I saw, and opportunities I had were incredible. God uses the Internet. 

God has used words from a teammate to show me that it doesn’t matter how fast I run a quarter mile, but that it matters how I treat people. God has used professors gracefully extending deadlines to show me that everything really does work out. God has given me joy when the caf workers taking our dishes say “thank you” back to me. God has given me new perspectives because of the words of friends.  

Looking back on these things from my college career, were these God encounters ‘big’ or ‘little’? Maybe the tug in my hamstring was a big thing. Maybe learning to be thankful because of “little things” is really a big thing. Maybe a response from a caf worker is a big thing. We serve a big God who uses everything. “It is we, of course, to whom things look ‘little’ or ‘big’.” 

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