The God Greater than Google
It’s the word no one wants to hear—cancer.
I felt like I had hit the peak of life. We were three months pregnant with our baby girl. My husband had been offered his dream job after six long years of school. My mom had just celebrated her fiftieth birthday and would soon celebrate her thirtieth wedding anniversary with my dad. We were praising God for all his abundant goodness to us.
And then the call came from my mom.
After the call ended, as the tears started to fill my eyes, my husband sitting there with his arms around me, my reaction showed me the true nature of my heart. It showed me where I really placed my trust. And it started a journey of God humbling me and renewing my faith and reliance on Him.
What was my reaction when I got some of the worst news possible? I picked up my phone and started Googling. What a weird word—Google, or “Googling” in the verb form. Twenty years ago, the term would be completely foreign. The internet has opened up new worlds to us, as well as new vices. Instead of leaning into my husband, calling a trusted friend, or opening my Bible to pray, I wiped the tears from my eyes as I scrolled through the seemingly endless results for “stage 4 ovarian cancer.” I didn’t realize it until later in our journey, but my initial reaction—my quick turn towards opening Google—showed me that I worshipped human knowledge more than our all-knowing Creator.
You see, we were created in the image of God. God breathed life into us and granted humankind certain aspects of His character—love, grace, mercy, justice, wisdom. But even though we are made in His image, we are not God. We have limits. Our limited love is just a reflection of his infinite, unconditional love. Our limited justice is partial, whereas God’s is perfect and exacting. While God created humans with the ability to know and learn and discern, He does not allow us to have all knowledge. The ability to know everything—omniscience—is reserved for the God who creates and sustains everything.
So when I turned to Google for comfort, I was hoping that if I knew more, maybe I could control the situation. If I knew exactly how her treatment would be conducted, if I knew the odds, if I knew what was going on in her body (If I knew… If I knew… If I knew…) then that would solve everything. I would be in control. I would be like God. I believed the same lie that Eve believed in the garden from the Serpent—that God was holding out on me and that I could be like him. God had always graciously provided for our family, but in this moment of crisis, I chose to take matters into my own hands.
Now, don’t think that I’m saying Google is evil. I am thankful for the ability to quickly know how to get grease stains out of laundry, how long to cook spaghetti squash, and what’s the score of my favorite team's football game. Google is a good gift. But just like humans have done since the garden, we take the good gifts that God gives us and worship them instead of the One who gives them. I “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). I worshipped my own earthly knowledge found on my phone screen instead of the source of all knowledge.
In my darkest moment, instead of turning to God, I tried to be God, and it left me feeling hopeless and empty. While I could not see the cancer cells inside my mother, the God who made my mother fifty years before in her mother’s womb knew the exact placement of every rebellious cell. While I could not make the cancer go away, God—in perfect wisdom and perfect goodness—would sovereignly guide us through the process of surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. I finally learned to cling to the truth that God was holding my mom with knowledge and power I could never imagine. “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:5-6).
In the year after my mom’s diagnosis, one of the most heartbreaking and joyous years of my life, God humbled me and revealed to me my limits. I am not God. I cannot know everything. I cannot control everything. And that’s okay. That’s good, because that is how God created me to be. He created me in his image with the desire to worship the God who does know and control everything, the limitless God who loves me and works everything for my good and His glory.
Our all-knowing and all-powerful God can use our hardest suffering to continue his plan of redemption. We believe this because he used the indescribable suffering of his Son to bring about the salvation of all mankind. How much more will he also use our earthly suffering to bring about an incomparable “eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Our minds cannot fathom what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. God reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I am learning to lay down the burden of having to know everything, and I have found a greater peace than WebMD.com could have ever given me. It’s a peace that says “It is well with my soul” even when the doctors don’t have good news. I can do that because I look forward to the day that God will take away every cancerous cell and all other suffering from this life. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4). I trust that he knows the best path to move all creation to that glorious ending.
Do you know that kind of peace? Do you have an assurance that no matter what you face in life, God will provide you the grace to persevere and have joy? Or are you still holding the reigns tightly, hoping that you’ll be able to make it through on your own knowledge and power? Whatever you’re going through, you’re not meant to go through it alone, relying on your own strength and knowledge. You were created to restin the sovereignty, goodness, and omniscience of our loving Creator. You can trust that Christ is holding you and all of creation together (Colossians 1:17).