This week I was at a woman’s Bible study and Priscilla Shirer, the author and speaker, did an amazing job talking about our God who is able. Powerfully able. There is absolutely nothing to difficult for him. We looked at Ephesians 3:20-21:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

She said it would change how we prayed. She asked what in our lives do we need a God who is able for. It was inspiring.

And then we began to discuss the material.

One woman had experienced three miscarriages. Another’s daughter had died in a tragic car accident. Another knew a 14 year old boy who would probably die soon. What do we do with a God who is able when we know these stories all too well?

As the discussion continued we acknolwedged that God is able to do all things, but he does what is according to his will, and there will be times we don’t understand why his will contains a certain out come in this broken world.

That conclusion doesn’t feel so inspiring. That conclusion leaves me confused about how to pray. Yes he can. Yes he is good. But I can’t have too much confidence because, well, for some reason completely unknown to me he might not choose what seems so obviously good to me.

How can we even praise a God like this? How can we live by faith? How can we even trust his love? And it was late in the conversation when I realized something about the context of this bubbling over of praise for God. Paul had just prayed for the believers who lived in Ephesus. Here is what he asked for (3:14-19):

1. Faith.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in you inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

It takes the glorious riches of God, it takes his divine strength, it takes his Spirit in our inner beings to abide by faith in a God who is beyond our understanding. To continue walking by faith when he doesn’t give us what we think is best, to still believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him when life isn’t going as we want it to. And he is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

2. Knowing God’s Love.

And I pray that you … may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

It takes supernatural power to know, to truly know with certainty, God loves us when the brokenness of this world cuts us the deepest. And he is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

What we so often need “every spiritual blessing”, “the richness of his grace which he lavished on us”, “a great inheritance”, “the riches of the glory of his inheritance”, and “the surpassing greatness of his power toward us” for is that we may continue walking by faith when the promises are yet to be fulfilled and to know the love of Christ when he denies us what we think is best.

Is it impossible to have faith and knowledge of the love of God in brokenness? 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

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