Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
We love to quote this Bible verse. It encourages us and lifts us up above our circumstances. Because it is true! God can do EVERYTHING and to Him be the glory! We also love to use this verse in our prayers: ‘Lord, You know what we need, You can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine… please Lord’… and then we pray to God to provide for our every need. And of course we can ask God! He loves it when we come to Him!
However, this text is written in the context of Chapter 3. When we read this we understand that Paul is speaking of more than what God can do on a personal level. Yes, God can answer our prayers in miraculous ways, but sometimes things are going very different than we had imagined. We go through a dark valley and it seems as if God did not hear our prayers. We cry out to Him and we wonder: ‘Lord, don’t You hear me? Is this Bible verse not true??? Of course God’s Word is true but our thoughts are too limited. God’s ways are higher than our ways. It is beyond us. That’s why I love to dig into the Word and try to picture what Paul has experienced in his life. No matter his dire circumstances he used this Bible verse to encourage the Church in Ephesus.
After a long journey Paul arrives in Rome. He is still a prisoner, but does not have to stay in a dark dungeon. While waiting for his court case he lives in a house, guarded by Roman soldiers. He is even allowed to receive visitors. Paul does not sit idle. He teaches the Word and writes letters to the Churches he planted; he also writes his letter to the Church in Ephesus. What really touches me that he realized that it is because of Jesus Christ that he is imprisoned (Chapter 3:1). We would blame satan for his imprisonment, but no… God has a plan and a purpose for this. In vs. 5 Paul says that this plan was hidden – it was a mystery – but is now made known to the apostles and prophets. And Paul receives this privilege to tell this wonderful message. Paul’s life was not easy. His journey was full of trials and afflictions – he was stoned, received lashes, experienced a shipwreck and was imprisoned several times – nevertheless, he did not give up hope. Yes indeed, God can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine. He can deliver Paul, like He did with the apostle Peter in Jerusalem. But Paul knew that his imprisonment was part of God’s plan and that’s why Paul considers it a privilege.
He says: ‘I am the least of all believers.’ The meaning of the name Paul is: little one, the least!!! He is in prison because of Christ Jesus to preach the Gospel to the non-Jews and to tell them that they also belong to God’s family. That’s why he writes to the Church ‘to not be discouraged because of his sufferings… which are your glory… and for that reason I bow my knee before the Father (Chapter 3:13-14)
And imagine this: how overwhelming it is that we and many others – throughout the ages – have been reading Paul’s letters, that he wrote in that prison and even today we are encouraged by it. Yes, God does immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. His plan reaches much further than the life of Paul and the apostles. It goes beyond our thinking. God uses this humble apostle to declare His wisdom to all the nations.
Paul, the man in chains, understands God’s plan and bows his knee in adoration to the Father. He rejoices over the riches and perfection of God’s wisdom. Wow!!!
Maybe you are also going through trials and testing and it could be you are wondering why God does not seem to hear your prayers, or you think you have sinned and then doubt creeps in your mind. Please, let me encourage you. Don’t be sad, don’t doubt. God hears your prayers. Although we cannot always understand God’s ways… He is thoroughly trustworthy. Once he said to Paul: ‘My grace is sufficient.’ And that promise is also for you: ‘God’s grace is sufficient!’ God’s purpose will come to pass and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
The day will come when we stand face to face with Jesus. All tears will be wiped away and our questions are no longer important, because we will see with our own eyes how awesome and perfect God’s plan is and like Paul we will bow our knees in adoration to the Father. Indeed, our God deserves all honor and praise. He can do immeasurably more than we can ask or
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