Our Concept of God; May 15, 2018

Matt 15:28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

I have always heard this story told as the woman being praised for her persistence, but just now I had a slightly different flash of understanding. Persistence may or may not come from faith, but Jesus acknowledged that this woman realized that delivering her daughter would be a trivial thing for someone with Jesus’s spiritual authority. Comparing exorcism to crumbs falling from a table seems like a far stretch to us. Such movies as The Exorcist put far more focus on the power of the demon than they do on the power of God. That’s why the devil is delighted in such movies! We forget John’s very succinct statement: “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) Most of us have far too small a concept of God. We quote Genesis about how He spoke the universe into being, but we have trouble grasping that absolutely nothing we face is any sort of big deal for Him. That was what Jeremiah was going through when God was telling him Jerusalem was going to be rebuilt and land bought and sold, when he saw the Babylonian army filling the land and God had told him they would destroy Jerusalem for the sins of the people. That’s where this church’s Verse for the Year comes from: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) When we get it through our heads and hearts that anything we could ask of God is comparable to a crumb falling from a table, our faith will be much more what God wants it to be.

I think I have a larger concept of God than many, but it’s not big enough yet. Even so, I struggle more with why God doesn’t do some things than with whether He could do them. The biggest item in that category is the matter of pouring His Spirit out on this nation for repentance and faith. I and my parents before me have labored many years seeking to communicate the Gospel to the Japanese people, with heartbreakingly little response. I am not to give up, but it can be hard to trust God with His timing. I’ve got to accept that I’m not smart but God is, and trust Him to do what is best. I have lived long enough to see that things He allowed in my life that were painful at the time were for my good, just as it says in Hebrews. (Hebrews 12:11) That gives me far more peace about whatever else might come up. At least I know there’s nothing He can’t do!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me keep growing in faith and gratitude. Thank You for what You enabled me to do yesterday in putting in the gutter, and that I don’t have time pressure for the final steps. Thank You for projects like that where I can see the results of my labors, when that’s not the case for so much of what I do. It’s very refreshing! Help me trust You with the results of everything You have me do, so that it may indeed accomplish Your purposes for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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