Faith to See it All

In recent days I’ve been reading and praying through The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson as well as using a journal that accompanies it. This morning God brought to mind the following story…

A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbour came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A short time later the police came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said. “The waters will soon be above your house. Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned. When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God. Ushered into God’s throne room he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven? I prayed for you to save me, I trusted you to save me from that flood.”

“Yes you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. But you never got in.”

Here’s what God reminded me through this story: the way God answers our prayers is as limitless as His power to answer them. 

The prophet Isaiah declares:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If God’s ways are beyond what our finite minds can fully fathom, then the way He answers our prayers will not always match the way we think He will answer our prayers. The answer may arise from the most unexpected circumstances. The answer may be well outside that tiny box we placed Him in. That little opening in front of us we want to ignore because it doesn’t match our expectations may be the very door that opens the floodgates to the deepest longings of our heart.

Ephesians 3:20 does not promise God is only able to do exactly what we ask in the way we ask it. No, God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. He can drop the 3 million dollars we need in our lap in an instant, or he can provide the 3 million dollars one small donation at a time. He could also require us to do a little legwork and apply for grants or scholarships and host fundraisers. Being active in the pursuit of what we are praying for is not a lack of faith; it is a willingness to understand that God answers prayer in more ways than we could ever imagine.

Therefore, I encourage you today to take God out of the box you may have put him in.  Then ask Him for the eyes to recognize the little and unusual ways He is answering your prayers. Remember, faith is not just the ability to believe God can provide the big, it is also the willingness to realize that God can answer the big through the little as well. Yes, God has the power to answer your big dreams in the blink of an eye, but He also has the power to answer them one step at a time. So join me today in praying for the faith to recognize not just the big and the small ways God answers prayer but the unusual and unexpected ways He answers them as well.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21

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Love to the Fourth

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18‭-‬19 ESV

Let’s talk about math for a moment.  If I had a box and wanted to figure out how much room it had inside, I’d measure its volume, for knowing the volume of an object helps me know how much space I can fill.  The simple formula for finding the volume of a cube (aka a box) is length times width times height, or l x w x h.

Since length is one dimension, width is another, and height is another, a box is considered a 3-dimensional object.  I’m sure this makes sense, since we live in a 3-dimensional world.

But have you ever seen a depiction of  a 4-dimensional cube?  I say depiction because we cannot actually SEE a 4-dimensional object because we live in a 3-dimensional world.  One way to think about a 4-dimensional cube (or a Tesseract as it is called in Geometry) is that a tesseract is to a cube as a cube is to a square.

Look at the image below (copied from here) The figure for number 4 is the tesseract. As you can see, it takes a cube to the next level.

So how does this relate to the Bible?  Re-read with me verses 18-19 from the top of the post (emphasis mine): may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

How many measurements does Paul give when praying for our understanding of God’s love?  FOUR!  God’s love has breadth (width), length, height, and depth.  This means God’s love isn’t merely 3-dimensional; God’s love is at the least four. Yes, God’s love takes love to the next level. This also means God’s love is not something we can easily visualize and understand while living in a 3-dimensional world.  We will never fully grasp the true volume of God’s love for us.  The width, length, height, and depth of God’s love for each of us is immeasurable and infinitely greater than we could ever imagine.

So I encourage you today, don’t put God in a box (pun intended).  Don’t put God’s love in a box either.  His love for you goes beyond your 3-dimensional understanding.  His love goes beyond what your finite mind could ever comprehend.  God’s love goes beyond what what you can see with your eyes and feel with your hands. God’s love for you is as deep as it is high and as long as it is wide.  And God’s love for you will never run dry.

Therefore rest in this today: God loves you. He loves you more than you will ever know–more than you could ever comprehend. God loves you. He loves beyond measure and has plans for you beyond compare.

God loves you.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 ESV

 

Pursue Love

Pursue love…
1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV

Love–the love God calls us to is not natural. It doesn’t come easily. It is not passive. It is not stagnant. It is living, breathing, and in a perpetual state of motion. And we must pursue it. We must chase after it and never stop chasing it. Even if we think we’ve caught it. For the moment we think we have overtaken love–that we have somehow conquered it–if we back off from our pursuit–if we stop doing and saying the very things we did and said before we thought we caught it–we will lose it.

Let’s not get comfortable today. Let’s not sit back and think love is a destination. Love is journey. It’s a choice. It’s a moment by moment decision to be patient and kind, to not envy or boast, to not be arrogant or rude, to not insist on our own way, to not be irritable or resentful, to not rejoice in evil but rejoice in the truth. When we choose to pursue love, we are choosing to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.

And when we screw up (for none of us is perfect; we will all say and do things contradictory to love), we must not stop pursuing. We must get up, dust ourselves off, and continue forward. Because I will say it again: love is not passive. It’s active. It’s alive. And it never ends.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV