What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:32)
I’ll never forget the hush as our elevator arrived at the skydeck of the Sears Tower.
On the ride up, ascending more than 100 stories, we had been chatting and joking, but as the doors slid open, the mood changed. Those standing already on the floor, gazing out the windows canvassing all four walls, weren’t boisterous and loud. There was a kind of stunned hush on the observation deck as dozens were fixated on the surrounding city from this perch more than 1400 feet above Chicago. There were whispers and some low-volume conversations, but the grandeur and awe of such a view had most of us stunned at the indescribable panorama we had encountered.
So also when we catch just a glimpse of the grandeur of God we find ourselves in a stunned silence. He is inexpressibly great and indescribably amazing. The mood changes; a hush comes over us. And yet we find there are things to whisper. We can’t stay silent, but must communicate something of the magnificence we’re witnessing, even if just in low-volume conversation.
When Words Fail Us
The apostle Paul finds himself in a moment like this near the end of Romans 8. These are the heights of biblical revelation. Among the mountain ranges rising up across the Scriptures, these are the Himalayas. In Romans 8:28–30, he has just celebrated that “all things work together for good” for us in Christ, and the golden chain of our salvation from eternity past to eternity future — from predestination to calling to justification to glorification — gives us ground for utter confidence that God has saved us and most definitely will keep us. This is almost too good to be true. These are indescribably glorious truths. And so Paul asks in verse 31, “What then shall we say to these things?”
It’s as if Paul is saying, “It’s greater than I can even say” — and yet he’s also saying, “I have to find another way to say it.” God’s greatness is ultimately indescribable, but I’m going to make every effort to describe what glory I can.
His majesty is in the highest heights and the deepest depths. In what we see in the fall and what we smell in the spring. He is massive enough to place the stars, and he cares enough to know them by name. He dreamed up and created a power like the sun and its heat, and yet he shades us from it to bring us the coolness of night. And most indescribably wonderful: he sees the depths of our hearts, and the sin and mess that is there, and he loves us the same.
Say It Again
That God is indescribably great doesn’t mean that we give up on trying to describe his many perfections and glories, but that we labor all the more to describe what little slices of the glory we can.
Paul doesn’t end his descriptions of glory when he asks, “What then shall we say to these things?” He takes a breath, gives it another go, and still has some of his most important things to say.
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31–32)
Our God is indescribably great, and infinitely worthy of an eternity’s worth of effort to keep describing what glory we can.