Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Even More than You Can Imagine

I'm sure I'm not the only one around who gets discouraged sometimes. It's a human trait that we allow to get to us, mostly when we don't get something we want in the time we want it. That's perfectly understandable, as long as we only look at what we can understand, or see, or do all by ourselves. But there's more
to it than just our efforts -- we have already been brought into the very love of God through Jesus. His work in us and his desires for us, if we'll let him bring them out at the right time, are far beyond our ability to see now!

We're like little kids who can't see over the railing to look at the animals in the zoo--Mom and Dad have to hold us up to look, and even then we don't understand why lions roar or why giraffes have spots. And the zoo has waaaay more animals than we can understand, but we insist on seeing the hippo, RIGHT NOW, without realizing it's clear on the other side of the zoo and there are 1,237 really cool animals that we'll see on our way. And maybe by then the hippo won't be the only animal that awes us.

Life is like that, and God has even greater gifts in store for us than a trip to the zoo for a four-year-old. Today's scripture says it well:  "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" (Eph. 3:20, the Message).  There is always -- always -- more going on than we can grasp, even when we try really hard to imagine it. If we kept that idea in mind, it might help us put up with waiting.

In what parts of life can God do more than we think? Here are a few:

  • Relationships:  the Holy Spirit is at work in all of us all the time. If a friendship or your marriage or your the way you're getting along with your children, or at work, is not what you would like, then instead of discouragement, how about trusting that God is already working on it? It's not up to you, although you definitely have a part, but you're not stuck with working it out by yourself. 
  • Finances:  do you remember God says he owns it all? "For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psa. 50:10). I used to ask him to sell off a few of the cattle and send me the money...but in all my financial ups and downs, he has always taken good care of me. 
  • Health:  the apostle Luke was most likely a physician, but he couldn't hold a candle to the miracles Jesus worked. Sure, there are foods we can eat or avoid, and the right kind of exercise and rest, but guess who really has our health in his hands? 
  • Success:  since we can't really even define the term, let's leave that up to God too, shall we?

 Of course, you can always continue to sulk because you haven't seen the hippo yet. But then you'd miss out on all the cool discoveries in the meantime. Which would you rather have?

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