Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where we are unable to picture a “happy ending” coming out of the mess we have landed in—and that’s okay. We don’t need to.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory.
He is able.
Fortunately, God is not limited by our imaginations. He does not restrict Himself to act only in ways we can foresee. He specializes in bringing good from what was intended for evil, beauty from our brokenness, and healing from our pain.
He can redeem anything—any person, any circumstance, any situation. Nothing is ever hopeless. He can always make a way where we can’t even imagine a way—much less make it happen.
He is able. Able to do more than we can dream up. And not just a little more. More than anyone can even measure. He goes far beyond “going the extra mile” for us. He runs a whole extra marathon for us that we didn’t even know existed.
We cannot ask for more than God is willing and able to give. He does more than we can even think to ask. He is infinite. Infinite in love. Infinite in power.
Consider this story from Ancient Greece:
Among those in the court of Alexander the Great was a philosopher of outstanding ability but little money. He asked Alexander for financial help and was told to draw whatever he needed from the imperial treasury. But when the man requested an amount equal to $50,000, he was refused; the treasurer needed to verify that such a large sum was authorized. When he asked Alexander, the ruler replied, “Pay the money at once. The philosopher has done me a singular honor. By the largeness of his request he shows that he has understood both my wealth and generosity.”
Today in the Word, MBI, August, 1991, p. 19
Asking great things of God shows our belief and trust that He is a great God. We honor Him by acknowledging that He owns all there is, can do the “impossible”, and loves us beyond measure.
It’s not just about you.
Does this mean our lives are all roses and sunshine? Nope. Sometimes His best gifts for us are wrapped in packages that look a lot like abandonment and feel very painful when we open them.
Giving to us beyond our expectations also includes not giving to us what we ask for when saying “yes” would not be His best for us. He doesn’t give us second-best.
He didn’t promise us a pain-free life. But He did promise us His Presence in the midst of our pain [Hebrews 13:5]. Remember that prayer is a request, not a command. He is God, not our own personal genie in a bottle.
I Asked God. . .
An unknown Confederate soldier
I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for; but everything I had hoped for…
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men most richly blessed.
God often does not give us “immeasurably more” in the way we think He should or will. He can see through what we think we want to what we really need. He always gives in ways that are infinitely better and have much further reaching consequences than we thought possible.
Ever heard of a guy named Joseph? (If not, please read about him in Genesis 37-50. This is one story you don’t want to miss!) God showed him he would be a ruler and instead he found himself in the bottom of a pit being sold into slavery. It wasn’t until many years and much heartache had passed that he saw the fulfillment of all God had promised.
But, wait! There’s more!
Not only did God do all he promised in Joseph’s own life. He also saved his whole family from famine by using Joseph’s slavery and imprisonment in ways no one but God could have imagined.
And that’s not all!
From this one family that was rescued from starvation grew the entire nation of Israel. It was through this very group of people that God brought His beloved Son to the world.
Do you think Joseph’s little mind could have possibly conceived any of that while he sat in the bottom of a pit, worked as a slave, or languished forgotten in prison? No way! He had no idea how God would work through his tough and unfair situation to bring redemption to all mankind.
Even though Joseph couldn’t imagine any of that, he still stuck by God in the midst of years of pain and unanswered questions. His faithfulness blessed so many more besides just himself.
If you can’t imagine a way out of whatever difficulty you find yourself in or you don’t even know what to pray for, don’t despair. God knows more than you can even imagine. He does more than you can even dream up to ask for.
Go ahead. I dare you. Imagine the most wonderful thing God could do for you or a loved one right now.
Whatever you just dreamed up is tiny in comparison to all He has planned for you and all He longs to give you. Just don’t forget to trust Him when it looks like He’s hurting instead of helping.
We serve a big God. Ask for big things. Expect even more. Keep trusting His goodness if the answer comes through pain.
Where do you want to see God do more than you can imagine? Will you give that over to Him and let Him run with it?
You might be stretched, surprised, disappointed, hurt, or confused. But you will never regret letting God do more than you thought possible.
Let Him be more than you can imagine.