Read Ephesians 1:18-21
18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 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 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. (NLT)
Some children in churches are taught to sing a song that says that our God is so big, so mighty and powerful, there is nothing he cannot do. A pretty good song, giving children an idea of the greatness of God. But even so, the whole concept of God’s power is a bit more complex than that.
God cannot literally do everything. He cannot cease to be God, or refuse to forgive penitent sinners, or approve of injustice. He cannot make a square circle or cause two and two to add up to five. Most of us recognise that sort of limit on his power.
But there is another limitation of his power, and it seems self-imposed. God could, in an instant, wipe out evil, poverty, war. God could dramatically bring the dead back to life, abolish cancer, and wipe out world hunger. He chooses not to. He is voluntarily limiting his power. He chooses not to do what he is entirely capable of doing. He instead allows us the freedom to do good or not-so-good. He does not use his power to override the freedom that constitutes our humanity.
Our text, and many others, reminds us that God is powerful. He has no ultimate rivals. And yet, that power is veiled, restrained. A bit like a mighty racing car revving up at the starting line: so much power ready to be released, but for the moment kept in check. Our all-powerful God chooses how and when to show his power. Only when human history in this broken world is wound up will the brakes come off and all power be unleashed.