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One emphasis in this Benediction is in the abundant way God provides for us. Abundantly more than we could ask or think. Not stingy. Not making you prove yourself. But abundantly! In another place in Ephesians, when speaking of His grace, the word lavish is used. Don’t you love hearing those words?
Why do you think He describes His work as being abundantly more than we could ask or even think?
Because He is a way grander God than anything we can imagine! We think about what we want, but He has plans that are so much grander…both for us, for the Body of Christ, and for the world, that our dreams are like a dot in His plans. That doesn’t mean they are unimportant, it just means we can’t even conceptualize what He is doing in any of the areas where He is working!
Yes, God is able to do anything we ask for. But He doesn’t always answer our requests in the way we ask for them. Why? One big part of the answer is because we don’t know everything He knows…about the situation, about the future, about what is truly needed for the people involved, just to name a few of the reasons.
How often have you asked God for something and He answered in a way you didn’t ask for, but it was better…very different, but so much better over the long run. It is a good reminder that HIs work is good and it is powerful…and it is grand. But sometimes, it takes years to figure that out.
God’s work in us will bring Him glory because His work in us is powerful. Who can help people change from being hateful to being loving? Only God can. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens.
His work in us is also going to bring Him glory both in the church and through Christ, for generations to come. It is difficult for us to think that way sometimes. We rarely are able to think about what life will be like once we are off the scene. Yes, we want to think about our grandchildren following after God. But if my living through a painful season with grace means the difference between a grandchild following after God or not, am I willing to live through it? Or if this season of unemployment results in my children (and me) learning to trust God more for my daily needs, am I willing to go through it?
Many of us would say “Yes.” If we knew that would be the end result, yes, it would be worth it. But we have no guarantees. Of course, it may not be a physical grandchild. It may be a spiritual one. We have no way of knowing.
God has both the power and the resources to keep the promise inherent in this blessing.
The one thing we do know is that God is working in a powerful way in us, in our world, and in His Church. As He works, He is doing some things that are more abundant answers to prayer than anything we could ask or even think to ask for. They are all in accordance with His power. Out of that work is going to come glory and honor to God, both in the Church and throughout all generations and forever. What a wonderful benediction for us to lean into!
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