Our Great God

The boys and I are memorizing Psalm 103 together in the car on the way to school each morning. It is a poem (or song) of praise to God that many of us are familiar with. “Bless the Lord oh my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems all your life from destruction…” This powerful Psalm is full of superlatives, pointing out the awesome power of our great God. Concurrently Jaden is memorizing 2 Peter 1:1-9 for school—another great passage on the power of God unleashed in our lives. Remember that phrase, “His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness”? Yep, that’s embedded in this passage that Peter so eloquently penned. (Honestly, who would believe that guy was an uneducated fisherman? Wow!) This passage goes on to remind us that “He has given us very great and precious promises that through these you may participate in His divine nature.” That is a stunning statement! The God who forgives, heals, and redeems, has given us exceedingly great and precious promises, equipping us for godly living and preparing us to participate in His divine nature! It is beyond my comprehension to grasp a love that reaches into my brokenness with forgiveness, healing, and redemption, and then bestows on me the gift of being a participator in His power unleashed in the world!

But in the midst of my awe, I have to ask the question, “Why aren’t we tapping into this?” Is our God really this big, and yet we are stuck in this cycle of small living, small prayers, small expectations?” In my own ministry with Wycliffe Associates, the task of getting a Bible to every language group in the world seems daunting, like it’s impossible. And then I remember that God’s Word is exactly that—God’s. And He is powerful. He is the creator of people, language, and His Word. He has given us the gift of being participators in his divine glory, but it is still his glory and it is still His kingdom that is being built. There is no way it makes any sense; but it doesn’t have to make sense. Because, I  know a God who is described by superlatives, and gives us gifts described by superlatives, who is building a kingdom characterized by superlatives. This God of mine, is a lavish, powerful God.

Still, I’m brought up short by the pain Joel suffers, by my friend’s recurring cancer, by struggles within our ministry team, by disconnects between a close friend and me. And I wonder how these painful situations can be part of a life lived fully in the power of God and his promises. I’ve lived through enough grief and suffering to know better than to suggest some pat answer. When Roman asks me, “Why does that verse say ‘he heals all our diseases’ when sometimes people with cancer don’t get better?” I’m forced to ponder that reality in light of God’s promises.

And I’m reminded once again that it is God’s plan for us is that we be more than conquerors. As John Piper noted in his book, Don’t Waste your Life, A conqueror subdues the enemy. Being more than a conqueror means the conqueror subdues the enemy and then uses what the enemy intended for evil,  for his own good purpose. God, through Jesus, has not only overcome the power of sin and Satan but now uses the consequences of evil to bring about his good.  What that good is, sometimes remains to be exposed in future glory. Living the truth of his promises every day, doesn’t always mean the answers will be evident. And that’s not easy. But it’s a lot easier than living with no hope and no power. God’s power and God’s love extend far beyond our meager years on this planet. So while I am expecting the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” I’m also comforted by the fact that his divine glory extends far beyond this land.

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