A tension we experience in living a lift of faith can be summed up by two similar but very different statements:
1. God can.
2. God will.
I certainly don’t have all the answers here. Instead, I want to share my experience and others in whom I’ve witnessed a similar story. I just know that there are times when my faith is shaped by the first statement. In these seasons, I tend to find myself asking God for a lot of things. My prayers might sound like, “God, I know that you can move in the heart of Johnny. Please do.”
Like I said, I can’t explain it, but in those seasons where the second of these two statements describes my faith, I, without really thinking about it, find myself being part of the answer. I offer help, rather than simply asking God for it. I’m driven to reach out more and produce more. My prayer sounds more like, “God, I’m believing you to move in the heart of Johnny.” When I hang up that prayer line, I tend to have the urgency to pick up the cell line and personally reach out to Johnny. Why is that?
Here’s the difference—God more often than not does through people when He does anything. When we believe that He can, we are inclined to ask and then expect Him to work supernaturally and independently. But our God is a relational God and tends to work through those with whom He is in relationship.
I don’t know the numbers and would love to do a study on this topic, but if you survey the Bible and find where God worked supernaturally and independently versus working through a person, I’m sure the latter would far outpace the former.
Just this morning, I was reading through the first chapter of I Kings in the Old Testament and I was reminded of Adonijah’s story. You should read it for yourself, but essentially while King David is nearing the end of his life and reign, Adonijah decides that he will declare himself as David’s successor to the throne. The problem is that God has already told David that his son Solomon will be the next king. We don’t see into David’s mind at this particular moment, but I assume that he has a decision to make.
David’s thoughts could have read something like, “God can place whomever He wants on the throne so if He wants Solomon to be the next king, then He can make that happen.” This is completely, 100% true. However, this was not David’s response. Instead, David took action—becoming part of the plan—and put Solomon in a parade recognizing him as the successor for all to see. David believed God for what He would do, not what he could do. His faith played itself out in action.
Maybe it is as simple as choosing which statement will define our faith. If so, I choose to believe that God will.
Do those of you who follow Jesus share a similar experience in your own faith journey?
Coincidently, rather you think you can sing or not, we will be spreading Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear beginning this Sunday. Come join in the cheer!