Friday, February 8, 2019

Singing Part 2: How Big Is God!

Aurora Borealis at Bear Lake, Alaska

Growing up in Alaska, I acquired a keen sense of the greatness of God as Creator at a very young age. Surrounded by magnificent evergreen-clad mountains that rose abruptly from the waters of the Inside Passage high into the sky, I would look around and see God's amazing creation every day.

I felt close to God as His creation hugged me every day while I walked to school or rode in the car.

The colorful neon displays of the Aurora Borealis on a clear, crackling winter night left me awestruck with their curtain-like shapes waving high in the sky. Then, of course, I had no comprehension of the science behind those constantly moving magnetized electrical currents in the magnetosphere and ionosphere that produced those ethereal sights. I just knew that God set them in motion.

Even the stars declared God's glory to me. The midnight blue expanse of sky stretched from peak to peak. With few city lights to fade them, the stars twinkled so close I could almost reach out and trace the constellations.  

In my early teens I heard a song that was made popular by the singing of George Beverly Shea in the worldwide crusades of Evangelist Billy Graham: "How Great Thou Art." That song spoke to me, and I began to sing it as a solo. Now, it may be one of the best known and well-loved hymns of all time.

Yellowstone Canyon
As a young adult, I visited Yellowstone National Park on a Sunday morning. Standing on the rim looking down into Yellowstone Canyon with the river flowing from its Lower Falls, I felt the breeze lift my hair. As I listened to birds twitter and the roar of the falls, I was reminded of the second verse of "How Great Thou Art," and I burst out singing all four verses at the top of my lungs across that vast canyon. That song still brings me to tears fifty years later.
Another song I learned when I was in high school and was first introduced to the theory of evolution was "How Big Is God." It was written by country-western singer and song-writer, Stuart Hamblen. His father was a preacher, but Stuart turned his back on Christianity. He became a hard-drinking, foul-talking cowboy actor. But his wife Suzie was a believer. When Billy Graham did a series of meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, Suzie encouraged Hamblen to attend. 

He did, and the message of the gospel so stirred his heart that he was unable to sleep that night, thinking about his sinful life, and where he was heading in the end. About four in the morning, he called the hotel where the Graham team was staying and asked to see Dr. Graham. He arrived at the hotel an hour later and made a decision to trust Christ as his Saviour.

The power of God changed Hamblen's life completely, and he became an effective ambassador for the Lord Jesus. He wrote many gospel songs, such as "It Is No Secret," "This Old House," and "Until Then.". Overwhelmed at what God had done, he wrote a song especially for Billy Graham’s soloist George Beverly Shea to sing, "How Big Is God." The chorus joyfully exclaims:

How big is God!
How big and wide His vast domain!
To try to tell these lips can only start;
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe,
Yet, small enough to live within my heart.

And these songs became my testimony in response to the theory of evolution.

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