It was so good to process my thoughts on “God is Able” with women from across various walks of life on Tuesday. In the course of the discussion, my friend Meredith said something that’s stuck with me. She said she struggles with the wording of “God is ABLE”. Because of course He’s able. But is He willing?
I think that’s a common struggle, and it’s certainly where the wheels come off of my faith. It’s where I struggle when Christians make promises like, “It will all work out…”, and “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” (which is a bald lie. Some days, everything is more than I can handle.)
The encouraging thing to me about the “able” verses we were discussing is that all of those things look to me like things God is both able AND willing to do. They are promises we can camp out upon.
But I realize that if you looked at my life sometimes, you might think these verses say:
I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that I have to work really hard if His promises are going to be true for me. He is ABLE to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. But I still have to work hard to protect the things I care about. (2 Timothy 1:12)
He is ABLE to do abundantly more than all that we ask or think, but only if I keep my end of the bargain. (Ephesians 3:20)
He is ABLE to make all grace abound to you, but there are no guarantees that you’ll be OK or have what you need. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
He is ABLE to help those who are being tempted, but who knows if He really cares about my struggle. (Hebrews 2:18)
He is ABLE to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, but I still have to perform in order to earn His favor. (Hebrews 7:25)
He is ABLE to keep me from stumbling and present me blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy. But I still need money/a husband or boyfriend/to be liked and approved of by others in order to be happy. (Jude 24)
Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enABLEs him even to subject all things to himself. But I’m still going to obsess over my physical body, either over indulging it or aiming for a false ideal of perfection. (Philippians 3:21)
“Do you believe that I am ABLE to do this?”… “I’m going to say Yes, Lord. But then I’m going to worry and wonder if you really will.” (Matthew 9:28-29)
Since that conversation on Tuesday, I’ve been mulling over these promises again, thinking about whether or not I believe He is ABLE and WILLING.
He is able and WILLING to guard what has been entrusted to Him. (2 Timothy 1:12)
He is able and WILLING to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
He is able and WILLING to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
He is able and WILLING to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
He is able and WILLING to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
He is able and WILLING to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy. (Jude 24)
And with the various challenges I face in my daily life – I know I don’t have His promise that it will all work out or that it won’t be more than I can handle. But I do have His promise that He will be WITH me, and His grace is sufficient for me. And
I hear Him asking
“Do you believe that I am able and WILLING to do this?”… “Yes, Lord.” “According to your faith be it done to you.” (Matthew 9:28-29)