Not 24 hours after my last post, I find myself wishing I hadn’t written it, or at least wanting to modify it. Oh, I stand by pretty much everything I said. The God we get is not the God we thought we wanted. And God’s omnipotence isn’t the omnipotence we want for ourselves.
But I look it over, and it rather sounds like I don’t think God is powerful. It sounds like I’ve evacuated “power” of all content. A certain school of thought would say that the theory of language I’m working with does that with everything we say about God, and needlessly. And they may be right. Kevin Hector is basically the smartest person I know.
But more immediately important than the philosophy of language is the fact that I woke up this morning feeling like the account I gave yesterday isn’t the God I pray to. Now of course an account of God isn’t God. But when I say morning prayer in a few minutes (arguably having evacuated the concept of morning of all meaning), I will lift up a situation that is for me a pit of despair. And I will say to God, “You are more powerful than this.” The situation may or may not change perceptibly (I’ve been praying about this one for some time now, and it only seems to have gotten worse), but there is nothing else I know how to do other than pray God’s power against it.
I guess that this is what I would add to yesterday’s post: I don’t know how God will respond to my prayer. I may not be able to perceive the difference it makes in this life. I can’t tell you what this power is. But let me be very clear: it is the greatest thing in heaven and earth. It lives in me, it lives in my church, and it has never forsaken those who call upon it. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, close your theology book and open your Bible (and your prayer book!). “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Just remember the primary revelation of this power that conquers the earth and never forsakes the needy is a man crying in his last agonizing breath, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” And this from the one who calmed the storm! He is the all-powerful God, and he is dying on a cross.
Somehow, both of these things were true for Jesus. And as for us, a servant is not greater than his master.