Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
My father in-law has Huntington’s disease. It is one of the reasons why he lives with us. Huntington's can rear it’s ugly head when a person is in their mid 30’s but it didn’t show up in my father in-law until he was 60. The scary part is that it is genetic and it has never skipped a generation which means that my husband could very well have it, as could my kids. I pray regularly that God would take this disease out of our family but I fail at believing that God will do it. This request just seems too big and so I change my prayers sometimes and pray that maybe God could keep it at bay until Joe is 60. I am guilty of praying and then not believing that God will answer my prayers. It stems from fear; fear that God will do the opposite of what I ask. It also comes from unbelief. I don’t always believe that God is generous. It all comes down to the fact that my view of God is too small.
Paul ends Ephesians 3 with a beautiful doxology, a hymn of praise to God. In it he tell us about the grandeur of God. He gives us a picture of God that is so big it inspires awe, emboldens faith, and grants courage. Here are four things I need to remember that are true of God in Eph. 3:20,21.
God is Able
“Now to him who is able”
How do you know if your God is too small? Does He threaten your comfort zone? If not, then He is probably too small. Do you view God as a kill-joy? Do you pray but then think that God won’t answer? I know I sometimes do.
There are beautiful passages in the Old testament that tell of all the things God has done, and yet His power surpasses even those things. God’s power is extensive. It reaches into every nook and cranny of the universe (Is. 40). There is nowhere we can go where God’s power is not at work. God sustains the world through the power of His word (Heb.1 ) He forgives sins, restores broken souls, raises the dead, forms babies, wakes you every morning, causes crops to grow, keeps the world spinning and the stars from crashing to earth and makes donkeys talk.
Can you begin to grasp the measureless power of God above everything else? It’s only as I know who God is, what He is like, and what He does that my view of God will be larger than life itself-- and correct.
God is Generous
“.... to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think”
I bet I am not the only one who sometimes believes that God is stingy. We wouldn’t say that out loud, of course, but it creeps into our thoughts and actions. When things are going really well do you feel like it is too good to be true? I do. Are you always waiting for the hammer to fall and for God to “zap” you? Are you afraid to come to God with your requests because you feel like you have asked too often, and so now God is going to cut you off? Do you feel that God will turn you away because you have ignored him for awhile, or have sinned “too much?” All of these thoughts stem from a belief that our God prefers to withhold good things from his children.
But consider the story of Solomon. God told Solomon that he could wish for anything his heart desired. Instead of choosing riches and fame, Solomon chose wisdom. God was so pleased with Solomon’s decision that He not only gave him amazing wisdom and understanding, but also the things that he did not ask for such as riches and glory. (1 Kings 3)
Our God is overwhelmingly, embarrassingly, generous. He wants to bless us (Ps. 115:12-13, Jer. 29:11).
Because God is generous toward all, especially his children, it is impossible to ask for too much. The “Father's giving exceeds our capacity for asking or even imagining." (via Sam Storms)
God is Active
“according to the power at work within us”
Some of us might get caught up in the lie that God is so busy with everyone else that He just doesn’t have time for us. It may seem that our prayers are taking forever to be answered and that perhaps God is lallygagging around somewhere. Rest assured that our “able” and “generous” God is also always active, never sleeping (Psalm 121:3), nor running out of energy (Is 40:28). While you sleep, God is on the move.
Do I remember who I am according to Eph 1? I am chosen, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, and immeasurably loved as a child of God. And so are you. He does not ignore his precious people. In fact, He blesses and cares for us collectively and individually. He wakes us in the morning, He provides everything we need for us to get through the day both physically and spiritually. He protects us from Satan’s arrows (2 Thes 3:3), and is always teaching, comforting, forgiving, guiding, strenghtening, convicting and sometimes disciplining before He causes us to fall asleep at night. Even then He is watching over us (Ps. 121:7).
Because God is ever active, accomplishing His will, answering our prayers in the best ways possible, and, as Paul says, powerfully working in us, we can have confidence that He is with us, in us, and for us in all that we face in life.
God is First
“to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever”
God’s goal in all things is His own glory. God is first for God, and He must be first for me. As the Puritans so beautifully said, our “chief end” (or purpose in life) is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Whether I recognize it or not, He is first, and everything else exists under Him. I must live to reflect and experience His firstness.
The way I see life and persevere through my calling, questions and chaos in this word hinges on my viewing God as first and myself as second. Then my view of God will grow.