Momentarily, let’s think about What God Can Do and No Man Can. For one thing, What God Can Do is a prove of three answers. And of course, there is generally the YES, NO or even WAIT for the answer(s) from God.
God can do more in five seconds than we can do in five hours or months or years. This is one reason the habit of prayer is wise. Sometimes we do not get the five-second breakthrough because we do not ask.
To be sure, God ordains to do many good things through hours or months or years of labor. Prayer is not meant to replace the toil. For example, God wills that a chapter is read, or a meal prepared, or a friend visited in the space of hours not seconds. He wills that a house is built in months not hours. He wills that a child is reared in years not months.
But there are breakthroughs which could come in seconds. They often take us hours or days or months — if they come at all. I have in mind especially the breakthroughs of insight that open a world of life-changing truth and practical wisdom.
With God All Things Are Possible
You’ve seen it cross-stitched on pillows and hung on walls. You’ve heard it recited before the Regional Championship and whispered before a big job interview: “With God all things are possible!”
This phrase, found in Matthew 19:26, speaks of God’s omnipotence—his absolute power to what he pleases. It’s a theme that is echoed all throughout Scripture. When Sarah and Abraham doubted God’s promise to give them a son, God said, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen 18:14).
When God displayed his absolute sovereignty to Job in his distress, Job replied, “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
Jesus himself, when he prayed to his Father in the garden before he was crucified, cried out, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me” (Mark 14:36).
This phrase, “with God all things are possible,” proclaims the absolute sovereignty and uncontested power of God.
But what about “I can do all things through Christ”?
Didn’t Paul himself say, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13)? Isn’t this an example of someone claiming God’s power to achieve any dream one wants?
There is more to What God Can Do in our lives. For one thing, He does what he pleases. And also, He acts according to his will, not mine or yours.
However, we misunderstand this phrase when we act like it is a guarantee of success for any task we are facing. We, like the rich young ruler, think that we have complete control over our lives if God is with us.
Instead, we must realize that, if God is true with us, it is He alone who has complete control over our lives.
Because all things are possible with God, we must submit to Him and yield ourselves to his sovereign plan, trusting him to do what is best for us, even when it included failure.
What God Can Do To All Blind Spot Moments
Many obstacles to joy and fruitfulness are owing to the fact that we cannot see reality the way it is. We cannot see the meaning of biblical teaching.
Or the meaning of a tragic event. Or the meaning of a friend’s rebuke. We are blind to it. The breakthrough doesn’t come. We may study and think for days or weeks or months, and not see reality any differently than when we started.
I have tasted this frustration dozens of times in trying to understand the Scriptures. I may be preparing a sermon or pondering a devotional text in relation to some besetting sin, or thinking about a promise of God in connection with a lingering disappointment.
What does the Bible teach us?
I look and look and study and think. And I don’t see it. The breakthrough doesn’t come. Or it may come after days or weeks of seeking. Or not.
But other times — many times — in my desperation I have gone to my knees and called out for insight. I have pleaded,
- Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things in your word (Psalms 119:18).
- Touch me with your salve that I may see (Revelation 3:18).
- Enlighten the eyes of my heart (Ephesians 1:18).
And in the twinkling of an eye, the veil has been lifted. I see something that I had never seen before, though it lay right before me. The pieces come together.
What God Can Do In Our Lives
Life has many dungeon cells, and stone walls, to hinder our joy and fruitfulness. Some of them are meant to fall down in five years. Others in five seconds.
Whether it is the patient endurance to press on with joy or the breakthrough in the twinkling of an eye, God has appointed prayer as the key.
If the wall is meant to give way in five years, prayer is the key: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” (Colossians 1:11).
If the wall is meant to open by the press of an unknown button, prayer is the key: “Knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
So let it not be said of us: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Persevering work in the cause of truth and righteousness is a beautiful thing. God gives it. And God approves it.
Never stop. But know this. God also loves to give breakthroughs in the twinkling of an eye.
Paul isn’t saying that God gives him the power to do anything he wants to do; he is saying that Christ strengthens him to be content in any circumstance, in times of “plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
In addition, Paul wasn’t hijacking God’s power to escape poverty or hunger, he relied on God’s power to be satisfied with Christ during times of poverty and hunger. Therefore, we must rejoice in the glorious reality that “with God all things are possible,” but we must never expect God to use his power to do our every bidding.
He is sovereign over your salvation, your future, your career, your every breath. All things are possible for him, and he uses that ability to accomplish his own will. Yes, it is frustrating when we don’t know what God’s will is.
In the end, we want the assurance that we will succeed in everything we do. We wish that God bent to our every whim. But this would be a disaster.
In other words, if God used his power to accomplish my will, my life would end in disaster. I don’t know what is best for me, but God does. I must trust him to accomplish His will for my life, and I can be confident that he will do exactly that—because “with God all things are possible.”
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