Great Big God, Greater Works

Feb 17, 2005Write!

Our dear friend JR Vassar posted something extraordinary today. Do yourself a favor and read his compelling post.

How shortsighted I often am!

During the Upper Room discourse, Jesus spends a lot of time bringing comfort to His dazed disciples. In the account in John, He celebrates the Lord’s supper, washes the disciples’ feet and predicts His betrayal and death. He tells Peter that a cock will crow at his three denials. On the heels of such deafening news, Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).

Let not your heart be troubled… The implication here is that we have a choice. We can either let our hearts be troubled and bogged down by woe or we can choose to not let the worry and stress of the world touch the deepest part of us. I frequently LET my heart be troubled. And my circumstances are never as dire as the disciples were here.

Believe in God, believe also in Me… Do I really really really believe in God? Do I truly believe in Jesus? Not just an intellectual assent like, “Yes, I believe God and His Son Jesus exist,” but a faith-filled, world-rocking belief that God is capable of anything. I’m reminded of Jesus performing a paltry amount of miracles in the towns that lacked belief, showing there is some sort of holy infusion of people’s faith (even if it’s as small as a mustard seed) connecting to the great ability of God. Can we, as JR said, dare to ask God for more? For a double portion? For more of His power, His joy, His presence, His renown?

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you… I am often mired in the today-ness of life. I forget that Jesus is preparing a place for me even now–an eternal home in heaven where thieves and moths cannot wreak havoc. With heaven in view, I am better able to let NOT my heart be troubled and to believe God for great things. Having an eternal perspective keeps me focused on what is truly important. It helps me to know how very fleeting our earthly lives are. We are here maybe 85 years; we’ll be in heaven forever. It is my lifelong prayer that I live for what really matters.

Skipping down through John 14, this verse reminds me of JR’s post: “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). How many of us truly, truly believe this? That we, through the power of the Holy Spirit who works within us, will do as great or greater works than Jesus? It’s pretty mind boggling. If you’re like me, you pray a laundry list. “Dear Jesus, help this person with cancer. Touch that marriage. Help me to love the people in my life. I give You this stress.” Seldom do I pray, “Jesus, do greater works through me so that You may get more glory in this world.”

We live in insulated, shortsighted faith-communities where we satisfy ourselves with spiritual trinkets. We’re happy if things go relatively well in our lives. We thank God for His many blessings. But we don’t pray that He’d do great things, earth-shattering works through us. Our communities don’t often support such radical thinking. We may even downplay the sister or brother who says such lofty things. “You’re naive,” we think. “Wait until life hits you square in the jaw. Life is just survival.”

What would happen to our world if we truly believed in the greatness of God? What mountains would move? What would become of our hearts? Perhaps the key in not letting our hearts be troubled lies in elevating our gaze. If we are so consumed by God doing big things in and through His church, perhaps our troubles will pale. We’ll be so caught up in the beauty, glory and renown of God that we forget ourselves for a blessed moment. And in that, heaven will be shaken. Earth will be changed. We will have the privilege of pointing to the only One who could’ve wrought such miracles. And our troubles will seem like dust floating away on the wind of grace.

Oh for such a faith!