Friday, August 03, 2007

More Than We Can Imagine*

Paul is absolutely correct when he says that God "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20). In contrast, our prayers tend to be weak and insignificant. Joseph didn't dare ask for what he finally received. His heart was like a bruised reed and a smolderding wick. His groaning was like smoke that rises straight to heaven. His heart was a real incencse burner! The sweet aroma that comes from a humble, groaning heart pleases God. Though Joseph may have felt like he was dying, his groaning didn't cause any real harm.

Hang on. God will remain faithful. Don't despair. Cling to the truth the psalmist proclaims: "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14). The Lord won't extinguish a smoldering wick but instead will make it glow brightly. He won't break the bruised reed but instead will strengthen it (Isaiah 42:3).

God wants to give us more than we ask for, not just fulfill our weak prayers. Joseph asked for nothing more than to be rescued, released from prison, and returned to his father. God in heaven let him pray for a long time. In effect, God was saying, "You don't know what you are asking [Matthew 20:22]. I will give you more than all you ask or imagine [Ephesians 3:20]. That's why you have to wait a little longer. I want more of the smoke that rises straight to heaven." But later, Joseph received what he never could have imagined. He never would have had the confidence or courage to ask for it. We must recognize that God's wisdom, grace, mercy, and power are most certainly with us, as they were with Joseph. However, God usually doesn't give them to us in the way we ask for them.

*Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, Martin Luther, Gen. Ed. James C. Galvin
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, copyright 2005

No comments: