God’s Power Is Regulated
By His Wisdom
Christians know that God is powerful and when problems arise, they often cry out to Him hoping for an intervention.
And it’s true. God does have the power to solve our problems and on occasion, for reasons we may never know, has done so but there is no guarantee.
It’s a mystery. We can’t say why unexpected problems arise and we’re quizzed as to why God doesn’t prevent them beforehand or remedy them afterward. These are questions not easily answered. Suggested explanations fill volumes but the rationale often contradicts and is never entirely convincing.
Things We Don’t Know And Rarely Mention
It’s not often mentioned but we also don’t know and can never calculate the number of times God has actually prevented tragedies. We loudly complain about the tragedies that do happen but what about the ones that didn’t happen. The ones we never experienced or knew about because God didn’t allow them to materialize. Those aren’t mentioned.
Obviously, we weren’t aware of them but they surely would have happened had God not intervened.
Maybe we should pause briefly to offer a moment of gratitude for the events we weren’t aware of and will never know about because God graciously held them off.
In spite of there being no conclusive answer on the horizon, this discussion still gets a lot of mileage. Maybe we should just be satisfied that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and He has chosen to keep some of His ideas to Himself.
What We Do Know
But we aren’t left entirely in the dark.
What we do know is that God is good and the Bible clearly says that all things, both the good and the bad, work together for our good (Romans 8:28). God doesn’t cause bad things to happen and He doesn’t say we should see bad things as good but He works in spite of the bad to bring about a better result.
We also know that some of our problems are brought on by our own actions and we accept that. We make poor choices and suffer the consequences. What we don’t fully appreciate is the fact that God’s grace, mercy, and love mitigate the consequences of our bad actions. He forgives us and we shouldn’t forgive ourselves any less than He does! Get over it. Even our wrong choices don’t prevent God from bringing about a good result.
In fact, Jesus died for us while we were in the very act of sin (Romans 5:8). Not only that but in many ways, God is gracious to sinners every day and we are told to love our enemies in the same way He loves sinners (Matthew 5:43-44).
We do, of course, love that but still get tripped up when bad things happen to undeserving people. I can’t explain it. You can’t explain it and all the philosophizing in the world has produced nothing more than an interesting conversation with no consensus on a final answer.
God is all-powerful. He can do anything. He is also all-wise and all-knowing. The use of His power is managed, controlled, and tempered by His wisdom.
He is also love. Not loving, but love. Everything He does or does not do, whether we understand it or not, is an expression of His love.
God has at times told us what He is doing. He didn’t bother explaining Himself in every case.
God’s Power Is Still Accessible
Even though there are some ways in which God’s power is not accessible, it is still available to all of us in certain well-defined ways.
I admit upfront that I cannot heal anyone. In truth, I don’t want the gift of healing. If I possessed such an ability, I would feel compelled to live in the outer fringes of humanity where the conveniences of modern society aren’t available. Places where things like indoor plumbing, electricity, medical clinics, and even shops that supply over-the-counter pain killers don’t exist.
Can you imagine not being able to get a bottle of your favorite painkillers when you develop a debilitating headache? There are places in the world where that is a reality.
Forget the cost or the ability to pay the cost, basic medical supplies are not accessible in some communities. A person with the gift of healing would be of supreme value in that setting.
Don’t talk about having the gift if you aren’t willing to endure the exposure.
And that also points to a not so commonly understood truth about God’s power. If I have access to God’s power on any level, I’m required to use it responsibly, whenever and wherever I can.
The power we have is power for which we will be held accountable. The Bible says this very pointedly.
To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required. And to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)
If I focus on the power I don’t have, I may miss opportunities to use the power I do have and will eventually be held accountable for that.
Active Channels Or Lifeless Recipients
The previous observation raises an interesting question. I’ve already mentioned that we often wish God to use His power to solve our problems, meaning He does all the work. The way we see it, He applies His solution-providing power, which is invisible to us, while we sit back and relax, and in the blink of an eye, the problem goes away.
We do nothing. He does everything.
We don’t know where the problem should go or how it should be resolved but we do think God can work it out mysteriously without our involvement. That’s what we want.
It’s like going to sleep on the operating table and waking up to a medical remedy, only with God, there are no insurance premiums or co-pays required. No follow-up or reports either. In fact, not even a visit to the hospital is required.
That’s what we expect God to do for us. Just solve the problem. Wake me up when you’re done.
To be clear, God can do that. He can dissolve every problem we have with less effort than it takes to snap one’s fingers. He spoke the universe into existence so I’m sure He could think my problems away.
Has He ever done that? Yes!
How often, you ask? I have no idea and no one could honestly attempt an accurate answer. In fact, we could never know which problems He prevented before they appeared because they never surfaced sufficiently for us to be aware.
We are painfully aware of the problems He hasn’t solved but sadly unaware of the many He either prevented or quietly resolved without our knowing.
We Complain About The Power We Don’t Have And Ignore The Power We Do Have
But that discussion promotes a languid, do-nothing, helpless, victimized, whoa-is-me approach to life.
We are not powerless. In fact, even those limited by disabilities amaze us with their extraordinary accomplishments. You can read about a few of them here, here (Helen Keller is on this list), and here.
We often applaud the disabled who refuse to be defined by their inabilities. It’s heartwarming and uplifting to read their stories. It gives us hope.
But what about the completely abled. Do they always reach their full potential and if not, do we shame them for this?
Does anyone reach their full potential?
Is there any difference between a slacker and someone who takes their abilities for granted?
The fact is we do have power. Everyone has natural, inborn, innate abilities that make them unique. They also have opportunities to develop those abilities.
It doesn’t stop there. Those are personal powers. They make us human but we also have access to God’s power. All of us do.
The greatest power known to man is the Gospel and every Christian carries that around in their head, in their heart, and even in their pocket.
This is divine power. It is the heavenly switch that unleashes the creative power of God and we have it in hand. We flip the switch by sharing it.
It’s like electricity. We can’t see it work but we can see the evidence after its work is done.
A Salvation Testimony Illustrates This Truth
A few days following my salvation, the Lord called me into missions. Although I was young and inexperienced, I was certain about my calling to Africa. I didn’t know where in Africa and, to be honest, I knew very little about Africa but that was my conviction.
Following that calling, for too many reasons to elaborate, my spiritual growth lagged for several years but the Lord eventually moved in my life again bringing me to the place of recommitment. I was studying Marine Engineering at the time but once I remembered my calling I didn’t hesitate to change directions.
One of the first decisions I made was to join a church and the church I joined happened to be a very strong soul-winning church. They held weekly soul-winning classes and organized door-to-door visitation to win souls following every class. I signed up right away, learned the plan of salvation, and memorized all the necessary verses.
My first time out knocking doors I was partnered with an older more experienced fellow but I was still nervous.
There were no responses at the first two houses but as we approached the third house, two young guys had just gotten into their car. Before they pulled away, my partner approached the driver and introduced himself. As he began his presentation, two other young guys came down the street, walked up to the other side of the car, and began talking to the passenger in the car.
That constituted a distraction and it made me even more nervous.
In the class that night they taught us that the second person in the soul-winning party, that was me, must deal with distractions when they develop. If the baby cries, you rock the baby. If the dog barks, you pet the dog. If the TV is too loud, you respectfully ask if you can turn it down.
They didn’t tell us what to do with two guys on the other side of the car but I knew that this was my responsibility and I knew my partner knew that I knew that. I couldn’t shirk.
So, around the car I went. My knees were knocking and my voice was shaky.
I approached the two guys, told them my name, and without hesitation jumped into my Gospel presentation. Halfway through my spiel, one of the guys cracked up laughing and fell over on the car rolling around as if this was the funniest thing he’d ever heard.
My first thought was to punch the guy’s lights out but, thankfully, I just turned to the other guy and carried on.
When I finished my presentation, I asked the guy if he would like to get saved and he said, “Yes!”
I was skeptical. Given the laughter I’d already endured, I figured the guy was trying to milk the situation for a few more chuckles. But, I carried on with the presentation.
I explained the sinner’s prayer and asked him to pray the prayer with me. Even while we prayed, I had my doubts but when we raised our heads, the guy had tears coming down his cheeks and I realized then that this guy has really gotten saved. All of a sudden the atmosphere changed. It was electric. Even the laugher came over asking for more information.
The Gospel Is Power
What I realized from that experience is that the Gospel is power. Not just powerful but power. Pure power. There’s nothing among humans that compares.
- The Gospel is more powerful than all nuclear devices. The ones deployed in the past, the ones we have now and the ones yet to be produced, all added together, can’t compare to the Gospel.
- The Gospel is more powerful than the sun. Move the earth close enough to the sun and it disintegrates. The sun does sustain life but only if planet earth remains in its orbital sweet spot.
- Gospel power compares only to that of creation, which means there is nothing in creation that compares to it.
And Christians have this great power at their fingertips. They are free to share it at all times with no limitations.
Nuclear power is guarded at great expense. The nuclear football (the briefcase containing the codes which only the President can use to authorize a nuclear strike) is never far from the President and is always guarded carefully.
Nuclear devices have the power to destroy the world. The Gospel has the power to change the world for the better.
The Gospel has more power than all nuclear devices and yet we have complete access to it and can deploy it as often as we like without limitation.
The Gospel is power whether we’re composed or falling apart, confident or insecure. We are channels, not performers. As long as the message is clear, the power is there.
Like natural power, the Gospel can never be created or destroyed but its power can be spread. Don’t be bashful. Share the Gospel.