Photo credit: Deposit Photos/ ronleishman
‘God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.’ (MSG)
‘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,’ Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
Recently at work I organised a seaside afternoon, which involved turning our school playground into a seaside, complete with beach volleyball court and paddling pools. What I hadn’t thought about was the fact that the numerous inflatables I had ordered would need blowing up- manually. On realising that it would be me huffing and puffing away, I began the mammoth task of blowing them up, and swiftly came to the conclusion it would take a lot longer than I expected! A colleague happened to be passing my classroom door and stopped to find out what I was doing. She then advised that she believed the PE department might have a hand pump that would make my task a little easier. I dutifully but begrudgingly went along to said PE department, not really believing they would be able to help, and asked if they had a handheld ball pump that I could borrow. The teacher replied that she didn’t have a hand pump, but they did have an electric pump, and proceeded to tell me all about the different settings and nozzles that could be used for an optimum experience. It far exceeded anything that I could have asked for or hoped for!
This reminded me that we sometimes go to God and ask him for a little, not really expecting him to come through, and then are amazed when he outdoes our asking. Not that we are meant to treat God like a vending machine of our deepest desires, but I feel God would say, ‘Be more extravagant in your asking – and your expectations!’ After all, He is the God of the impossible! Maybe people who have been disappointed in the past, when God hasn’t answered a prayer in the way that they wanted, have become really near-sighted in their asking. At times like these, we need to remember that He is the God of miracles. He is the God of the parting of the Red Sea. He is the one who can raise from the dead. He is the one who can make the seemingly impossible possible.
‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
Whilst writing this blog, I realised that it is rare for me to ask people for help or to do something for me, mostly, I think, because of a fear that they will say no. Everyone is entitled to their no, but think about what we might be missing out on, just because the fear of a no stops us from asking. I’ll admit I probably use this same measure with God.
The electric pump episode also convicted me about trying to do things in my own strength. I was hesitant to ask the PE department for help, thinking it would be quicker to do it myself, and convincing myself that they wouldn’t have the equipment I needed. I was, of course, spectacularly proved wrong when I conceded. We are not expected to do it alone, that’s why we’ve been placed in community and why we’ve been given power in the Holy Spirit. I wonder how many of us there are that God is waiting for us to come to the end of ourselves and concede we can’t do it alone before He steps in and works in us and the situations we face. I wonder how richly He is waiting to bless us if we would just let Him in.
‘I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.’ John 10:10 (MSG)