“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 1:19-20 NLT
We tend to minimise God and bring Him down to our level, where we can cope with Him. We keep God in a box, opening the lid now and then, letting Him out when we need Him, but otherwise carrying on in our work-a-day lives as though he wasn’t there. But Paul knew differently. His thoughts were flying into Heavenly realms, where his mind boggled at how great God was. No box could contain Paul’s God! His thoughts dwelt on the great Creator God he knew. The God who spoke matter into being. The God who set the stars in place and called each by name. The God who created him in his mother’s womb. The God who chose him before the creation of the world. And in this “wow!” moment he prayed that his readers too would get their minds around our infinitely great and powerful God. Just to confirm the reality of His power, Paul reminded the Ephesians that God was so powerful that death was a non-event to Him – He raised His Son, Jesus, from the dead, to a place of honour in Heaven.
So here we are, pilgrims walking the well-trodden path between the womb and the tomb, perhaps thinking about, and wishing for, some of this power. Power to help us when the paths become strewn with pot holes, boulders and many other obstacles. The cost of living, Covid, sickness, wars, strife – the list is endless. But through God’s grace we can tap into this power right now. And that is why Paul prayed that his readers would understand how great this power is. God’s power can make a difference.
Do we really understand “the incredible greatness of God’s power”? When I think of the word “power” I immediately associate it with electrical power, a necessary commodity powering our aspirations for an eco-friendly world. Or the great clanking, hissing, steam-powered behemoths that unashamedly transported people and goods for most of the 20th Century. The performance of car engines is compared in units of “horse-power” indicating their ability to speed around the pot-hole ridden roads of 2022. But none of these man-made definitions of “power” even scratch the surface of God’s power. His power, not horse power, is what drives the Universe. Which man-made example of power is there that can create matter from nothing? Or can raise someone from the dead? Has man ever found a way of circumventing our understanding of the laws of physics? Paul wanted his readers to get their minds round the infinite capability of God’s power. We are bounded by the limits of our physical senses but God’s power is unlimited and stretches into infinity far beyond what we can appreciate or even imagine. We can only confess our puny, infinitesimally small, understanding, and instead ask God to help us. In our pilgrimage through life we bumble along, occasionally thinking about God’s power, saying every now and then, “Wow!” and intermingling it with our praises to the God “Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine …”. And asking Him for more grace and understanding.