We measure greatness in several ways. Among them are what a person knows and what a person can do or has already done. We brag about our kids’ grade point averages or SAT scores. We claim a person is the greatest to play their sport based on measurable statistics such as championships won, home runs hit and touchdowns scored.
The Bible presents a compelling case for God’s greatness. He knows all things, has never learned and is equally proficient in every area of knowledge – unlike scholars who are experts in one limited sphere of knowledge. Put another way, God has never had, nor will he ever have, an “Aha!” moment when he realizes a mistake he’s made due to insufficient knowledge (Acts 15:18, Psalm 147:4, Matthew 11:21 and Psalm 139:16).
God’s greatness is not seen only in what he knows but also in what he can do. Once again, the word of God, the Bible, declares he has unmatched abilities. In a prayer of Apostle Paul in the letter to the Ephesian believers, we read a part of Paul’s concluding praise to God: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20, 21).” This passage teaches many things, but among them are the following:
God can do far more “far more abundantly beyond” any and every thing we might ask him to do. People have their limits – we all have some things we can do, but many more things that we cannot do because of our limited abilities. Since our abilities are limited, people do not ask us to do certain things. No one has ever asked me for a $10 million gift or loan. As they have rightly concluded, I could NOT fulfill their request.
When we ask God to work on our behalf or on behalf of others through our prayers, it does not mean God will do exactly what we ask – only that he’s capable. His capability should cause us to ask him to do things in our lives and the lives of others, even to work out an “impossible” situation.
God can do far more than you can even imagine. All of us daydream, but when we do that about God and his abilities, we never imagine enough. Who would have ever imagined he’d take Joseph from an Egyptian prison to being co-regent of all of Egypt? Who could have imagined he’d take Saul, a persecutor of the church who caused many to be martyred, and gloriously transform him into Apostle Paul, who wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament? In more modern times, who’d have imagined he’d take a 1.5 million-watt AM radio station built by Adolph Hitler and have Trans World Radio – a ministry located in Cary, North Carolina, – purchase it in the 1970s? Hitler built the station intending it for Nazi propaganda purposes (though it was never actually used for that), but TWR uses it to broadcast the goods news of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and his offer of life everlasting to all who believe.
Take heart! God knows all things and can do all things, so no matter what your circumstance is, he knows and can work in ways you can’t imagine to create something good from it. He truly can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine. Praise his name!
In 2018, will you trust him to do a great work in you? Is there a specific area you’d really like to grow in so that you become more like Jesus Christ? He can conform you to his image. Is there a person you’d love to see come to faith in Christ, but that prospect seems highly unlikely (even impossible)? He can do far more than we imagine – why not pray daily for that one person? Ask God to make their heart tender to the good news and that he’d give you the opportunity and boldness to speak for him.