Restrained power - Hope 103.2

Restrained power

By David ReayFriday 28 Apr 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 26:53-54

53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (NIV)

We sometimes think that power means doing what we like, crushing those who oppose us, showing who is boss. God’s power doesn’t seem to work that way. It seems as if God, whom we call ‘omnipotent’ or all powerful, voluntarily limits his power. Paradoxically, he reveals his power by not exercising it in a way we might expect.

This episode from Gethsemane illustrates it. Jesus had all God’s power at his disposal. With a metaphorical click of his fingers God could have spared Jesus the cross and put his enemies in their place. God could have compelled the world to love his Son. Jesus could have insisted people follow him.

But this is not how God’s power works. Power may enforce obedience but it cannot arouse love. God’s power works in a way adapted to imperfect humanity. He will not use his power to demand we do the right thing and leave us no option but to go his way. He wants us to follow him but he wants us to actually decide to follow him. He wants us to be in his forever family but wants us to freely choose to be in it.

This restraint of power means that bad things happen which God does not prevent. It means we have the freedom to thumb our noses at him. It also means we have the freedom to fling ourselves on him in a mixture of desperation and love.

David Reay