Ephesians 3:20 (NIV84): Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
For a brief moment, this beautiful passage gave me a twinge of pain and a moment of anguish. There was even an honest moment of resentment. The magnanimous declaration just did not reflected the paucity of my present reality, and the contrast was startling. The struggles I am presently experiencing and have been enduring for so long, caused this passage to ring hollow. How can He be able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or think, and He not have given me, in measure, what I have asked? The question was real and demanded reflection.
It didn’t take me long, however, to realize I had made a classic interpretive mistake. You see, the Bible regularly speaks of a distinction in time. It uses many ways and many metaphors to describe this important distinction. It uses words like temporal versus eternal, seen versus unseen, visible versus invisible, the kingdom of this world versus the kingdom of our God. Theses two ages are divided firmly by the return of Christ. And I read the promise of this passage in light of my present realty in this age and not in light of the age to come, of which it is a reflection.
What God has done in Christ Jesus is immeasurably more than I could have conceived. Yet for a moment, I was resentful that He hasn’t given me the paltry sum that would relieve my temporary concerns. My fears about not being able to live up to the standard of health, happiness, and prosperity that I have set for myself, blinded me to the fact that God secured for me an eternal future of all these things and more. I had interpreted eternal promises into a temporal world.
To cram a promise like this into a pay period or a season, is like trying to stuff eternity into time. And to do so is at the expense of the truth. According to the writer of Hebrews, when God promised Abraham a land, Abraham knew in what age the promise would be fulfilled. It says all the patriarchs were looking for a better country, a heavenly one. They were looking for a land whose architect and builder is God. They held this hope while living as sojourners, in a tent, in the land of promise. The only portion of the land Abraham owned was the burial plot for Sarah and he bought that from the Hittites.
So for now, the struggle continues. The anguish remains. But a faith that God is going to prosper us in this life is a faith unlike that of Abraham, the father of the faithful. As I finish reflecting on my initial question, I conclude with one better. Can the Kingdom of God fit within the borders of men? It cannot, for His kingdom is immeasurably more.