“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory…” Ephesians 3:20-21
God is able. We know that. We don’t doubt it. We want our lives to reflect a deep assurance in Jesus so that others will know the God in Whom we trust. And yet, there are times we forget and allow our fears to overtake what we know and step off our firm foundation to a place of shifting sand.
It’s so easy to trust, when our eyes are fixed on Jesus and when we “feel” His presence. But when the winds shift and the waves get wild, too often we shift our gaze inward to self or outward to circumstances and we falter.
Can’t we, at times, relate to Peter, the disciple who boldly declared his allegiance to the Savior, yet later ran in fear when asked if he knew Him? It wasn’t his intention, but in the moment he hesitated. He had moments of both trust and the lack thereof throughout his life.
In Matthew 14, he boldly declared his faith by looking intently at the Savior and, thus, was able to walk out to Him on the water when Jesus said, “Come.” But when Peter began to focus on the raging storm around him, taking his eyes off Jesus and putting them on what he could see, he began to sink. It was Jesus who had to save him when all he could do was cry out; just as He is faithful to do for us when we call out in our weakness.
God lovingly commands His children to keep our eyes on Him – yes, because He is worthy and yes, because He is good! But it is also because God knows that we are only steadfast, confident, and able to stand firm when our eyes are completely fixed on Him through His Word, the Bible, and our daily, even minute to minute, communication with Him through prayer.
It might be a designated time or an impromptu moment of praise, an outpouring of our pain or doubt, or a humble moment of repentance when His Spirit convicts our hearts and we must set our sin aside so we can again firmly walk in truth. When we are in relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ, we can come at any moment – He desires it and beckons us to it.
God loves for us to bring Him praise, unburden our hearts, pour out our fears, and lay ourselves bare before the God who knows us intimately, even better than we know ourselves. When we don’t understand the circumstances around us, we have a Father who is not afraid of our questions and who even allows us to ask “why.” But then He tells us to trust in what we cannot see rather than demand that He change our situations or readjust His will and His ways to suit ours. We are called, as children, to open hands; to a humility that says, “Not my will, but Yours, Lord.”
And, we are invited to a greater hope and purpose that says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) Many cling to that verse as if it is quick fix – that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will do whatever we want Him to do. But it is so much richer and more redeeming than this short-sighted view.
The paradox is that if we truly grow in our delight of the LORD – if we earnestly seek Him and know Him – our desires will be transformed to reflect His desires, our wills will be changed to want His will. In so doing, we will receive the double satisfaction of having a heart after our Redeemer and He, in turn, will fulfill His renewed purposes and our redefined desires. Through it all, He gets the glory and we receive the joy!
We see the chaos; He sees where He has said, “this far and no further.” We often miss seeing the mercy and grace in situations, but make no mistake, everything that touches us is full of both, even when we don’t see or feel it.
Our covenant keeping God sees the full picture clearly from start to finish. We see only where we stand in a moment’s time and even that imperfectly. If we will trust the heart of the One who, in His great love for us sent His Son to redeem us and make us His own, we can rest, even give Him praise, in the middle of the moments that sometimes rock our world, the daily grind of the ordinary, or the difficult life situations that are part of our everyday, because we know that what He does and what He allows has a greater purpose now and in the future.
As Oswald Chambers writes, “We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and by, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God’s say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways!”
And again, Chambers states it so clearly,“Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.” (from Love: A Holy Command)
Yes, He is preparing to do exceptional things even as He is already doing in the present. Indeed, he is doing much in and through us, though we may not yet touch that reality and though we may, at times, hold up open hands through tears! We know that because, as we look back, we can often say, “Now I see what God was doing all along and it was flawless!”
Through it all – past, present, and future – He gets the glory and that’s just how it should be because He is more than able; He is good! And that is not dependent on His answer!
“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” Hebrews 12:1-2
MAKE MY LIFE A PRAYER TO YOU by Keith Green
Make my life a prayer to You, I want to do what You want me to,
No empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise.
I want to shine the light You gave, through Your Son, You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair, It comforts me to know You’re really there.
Oh, I want to thank You now, for being patient with me,
Oh, it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me,
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what you say,
Oh, you’re coming again, coming to take me away,
I want to die, and let you give Your life to me, so I might live
And share the hope you gave to me, the love that set me free.
I want to tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I made up inside my head –
You’re God, The Son, You’ve risen from the dead.
(Originally posted June 2013)