We have a lot of interesting comments, quips, and quotes that we toss around in the community of faith. Some of these are well-meaning, but not always fully true. We can comment, quip and quote ourselves into strange corners if we take everything we hear or read at face value without seeing it through the broader lens of Scripture and history.
John Wesley said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” While that is an admirable-sounding comment and we should all pray more, it is thankfully not accurate. Groups of faithful intercessors have been created and labored under the burden of that misconception. Paul said in Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Some of the greatest works God does are not answers to our prayers but a merciful expression of His heart in a place beyond the content of our most ardent prayers – beyond what we “might ask or think.”
Another famous phrase tossed around is “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Again, Paul helps us see a deeper spiritual reality. In describing the challenges he experienced in Asia, Paul said, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1: 8-9).
This “beyond our ability to endure” seems to be the place where miracles of deliverance and supernatural intervention have appeared throughout the history of the Church. The most profound and awe-inspiring things God does will exceed our ability to imagine or produce. This is the resurrection component of our faith. God raises people and situations that look dead and abandoned and gives them new life and another chance.
I don’t write this to rag on anyone. I have been guilty of parroting half-truths in my own ignorance and I’m sure it will happen again somewhere in the future. God is larger than our quips, comments, and familiar quotes. Because He is bigger than we can imagine we need to be willing to challenge and adjust the smallness of our current revelation.