- 19 -
"Exceeding, Abundantly Above"
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
"The power that worketh in us" is, of course, the indwelling Holy Spirit given to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Holy Spirit dwelleth in you" (I Corinthians 3:16).
The accessing of such mighty enabling involves the gift of prayer, also freely given to all who believe, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Our Heavenly Father calls us to decisively and consciously trust Him by communicating with Him. "Call unto Me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).
I recently heard a former player of the late football coach of the University of Alabama, Paul (Bear) Bryant, say that Coach Bryant was always willing to help former players who had worked hard for him and done their best. "But you had to ask" said the player. "Unless you were in a situation or condition where you couldn't, you had to humble yourself and ask."
Our Heavenly Father does many things for us that do not require our asking. "He giveth to all life and breath" (Acts 17:25). Conversely, much that He desires to bestow upon us of "great and mighty things" and things "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" do require our prayerful seeking. "Ye have not because ye ask not" (James 4:2). It's hard to imagine a greater tragedy than to have access to "the unsearchable riches of Christ," but to fail to avail ourselves of their abundant provision (Ephesians 3:8). Such neglect characterizes every believer to one extent or another, and we must honestly confess our inexcusable ignorance and/or unbelief. However, we must also begin from where we are in seeking to grow in our access of supply that God desires us to have more than we desire to have it. Whether we have been consistent or inconsistent in asking and receiving, today should be better than today, and tomorrow better than today. We must "grow in grace," that is, in the awareness of God's riches in Christ, and our accessing thereof (II Peter 3:18).
We understand always that our Lord answers prayer according to His glory, will and eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus. Thus, at times His answers come in packaging strange to us, even as Israel failed to recognize her very Messiah. His answers come nevertheless as we pray in humility, faith and accordance with the Word of God. "If we ask anything according to His will, we know that He heareth us" (I John 5:14). Of course, sometimes we don't know what to ask for. We don't know what His will is, or even what we need or desire. In such times, we simply ask the Lord to do or provides as He sees fit. Whatever the case, we ask. We pray. We seek. And we trust that our Heavenly Father loves to "give good things to them that ask Him" (Matthew 7:11). Again, the infinitely generous God of Heaven is far more willing to give than we are to ask. Yes, He is exceeding, abundantly above willing.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."