Ruth and I have decided to make the book of Ephesians the center of our Biblical studies this winter. There are so many good things in the book I can hardly wait to get down to business and start work on it. Last evening, for example, I was thinking about this verse, “Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20, 21
What a wonderful thought of encouragement. I was wondering about all that I could ask or think about regarding my relationship with God, but this text says He is able “to do far more abundantly,” than anything I could possibly ask for. When we struggle and cry out to God to remember us and help us through the discouragements, God will help us more abundantly than anything we could possibly hope for in way of resolution to our problem.
Why do we doubt God so much when He wants to help us beyond our wildest dreams?
Hebrews tells us, “take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.” Hebrews 3:12-14 It seems so much of our problem simply comes from an unbelieving heart that leads us to fall away from God. The result is a hardening and deceitfulness of the heart that refuses to believe in the power and wonder of God’s love for us.
The struggle for a Christian, and it is a struggle, is to believe when you don’t want to believe. It seems so much easier to just throw in the towel and tell yourself that your problem is just too big and complicated for God to handle. Then that pesky text in Ephesians pops up again and you are reminded that God has the power to work within us and answer our prayers and petitions much more abundantly than we thought possible. The conflict is between the word of God that promises God will hear us and come to our rescue (though not always in the way we want Him to), and our sinful natures that whisper in our ear don’t trust in the promises of God.
Let me ask you a personal question. Do you believe that God loves you enough to look after you and care for you regardless of the suffering you are going through? That is the fundamental question in our claiming the promises of our text from Ephesians. I happen to believe God is able to deliver and keep us safe during trials. However, we sometimes confuse God’s ability and desire to do help us with how we want the situation to play out. We cannot see the big picture and as a result we only see a small portion of God’s plan for our lives. If we could see the end from the beginning we would have to acknowledge that God knows best and we could accept His leadings and handling of our life problems. But because we only see through, “a glass darkly,” we complain because God doesn’t always settle matters to our satisfaction.
As growing Christians we should come to God admitting that we don’t understand His ways, but because He is a sovereign, loving God who would never do us harm we accept His decisions because we trust Him. If we could stop trying to put God in a box and dictate to Him all our heart’s desires, and instead understand the bigness of God and His unknowable (see Deut. 29:29) ways we would find peace.
Hebrews 4 reads, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (14-16) This is another text that we should know and make part of our life. Think about these words, “let us hold fast,” “sympathize with our weakness,” “has been tempted as we are,” “with confidence draw near,” “that we may receive mercy and find grace,” in order to help us, “in our time of need.”
When we face difficulties it is the time to trust God with a renewed confidence that He has us covered. I know some of us aren’t hearing the answers we need, but God is working out what is best and we need to accept and understand that God works in a way that is beyond our comprehension. If we could see the situation through God’s eyes we would see the reason for how things are working out in spite of our doubts.