I recently came across the above title as a headline in a well-known Christian magazine. I prepared to be impressed. I thought that if God can speak the entire cosmos into being in just six days, give the Deity a decade and something pretty spectacular should result.
Sadly, I was underwhelmed. A church had grown, bought and renovated a building, and started meeting there instead of in a school. Just an average decade for many churches. Which set me thinking, why does God do things so slowly? The answer is that God works with the celestial equivalent of one hand tied behind his back: he partners with humans.
Alone, God can speak revival into being, self-reveal to millions, heal the sick and raise the dead. But God doesn’t like doing things alone. God prefers to be in partnership with family, working in community. Which is why God is so keen that we humans get involved. In working with God, we learn about God, get to know God, and start the long process of becoming like God. It’s a bit like letting your kids help you with weeding the flowerbed. You know some weeds are going to survive and some flowers are going to get pulled up, but doing stuff together builds family.
The problem, of course, is that humans work slowly, and often get in the way. We don’t do what we’re told to, either because we’re not listening or we’re not willing. We don’t go where we should or give what we ought. We don’t step out in faith, speak out boldly, or believe God will do amazing things in us and through us. So what looks like God’s inactivity is really our inactivity.
18 months ago we introduced you to the Syzygy theology of symbiosis (if you haven’t read this blog, click here!). It stressed the fact that our partnership with God is so total and complete that it is like we are in a mutual relationship, modelled on the one Jesus had with the Father.
Do we have the courage even to aspire to this sort of relationship? Do we look at the risks, the challenges, the ‘sacrifices’ involved, or do we embrace the huge privilege of being able to work alongside the Creator, allowing the ‘power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead’ (Ephesians 1:19) to work in and through us?
May God shrink our fears and enlarge our faith, and then maybe we really will see what God can do in 10 years!
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power towards us who believe.