By Miriam Rossow
What does power look like to you? When I think of power I think of someone with great influence. I imagine someone who has many people under them doing what they want them to do. Power means having control over a situation. Generally I think power is pretty obvious. When you are in a situation you know who has the power or the control.
I was praying a prayer this morning and the first sentence made me stop. It said, “O Eternal God, though Thou art not such as I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, yet grant me this day a clear conviction of Thy reality and power.” A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie
As I prayed this I realized what I wanted in this prayer was not Jesus’ version of His reality and power, but MY version of Jesus’ reality and power. I wanted Him to come into my life and show His power by solving all my problems. I wanted Him to make my life the perfect version of MY dreams. I wanted my husband to be happy and healthy. I wanted the church doors to be torn down by all the people storming them, because they love Jesus, and because the church staff and my husband are so amazing. I wanted my friends who are hurting and have pain – both physical, emotional, and mental, to be healed! I wanted broken relationships to be restored. I wanted to see a power that no one could dispute.
As I prayed this I realized what I wanted in this prayer was not Jesus’ version of His reality and power, but MY version of Jesus’ reality and power.
Is that the power that Jesus promises us now? Is that Jesus’ reality and power?
We just had Holy Week and in that week we saw the crowds surrounding Jesus as He came in power, their kind of power, on Palm Sunday. You realize those crowds are the ones who witnessed Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? These crowds saw Jesus’ power over death and they were ready to follow. And then later that week when the religious leaders were concerned with the power that Jesus was gaining they turned this same crowd away from Jesus.
As I read the Gospel of John this fall and through Lent one of the themes that was very clear to me is the fact that Jesus is in control even when the situation would say differently. Numerous times John records Jesus saying, ‘the time is not right’ or ‘this is not my time’ or ‘the time is coming’. Even when it looked as if Satan was in control it was Jesus in control.
Even when it looked as if Satan was in control it was Jesus in control.
The cross shows us just that. The cross was Satan’s victory. When Jesus was hanging on the cross Satan was rejoicing. Satan had managed to tear everyone away from Jesus. The crowds turned against Him. The church, His chosen people, were the ones who sentenced Him to death. Jesus’ closest followers were hiding in fear of their own lives and no longer wanting to associate with Him. Even God the Father turns His back on Jesus and God’s entire wrath is put on Him as He hangs on the cross. Satan has surely won. The power has been turned over to the dark side.
The crowds are ready to turn back to Jesus if He just shows He has power. Remember they cry out to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, save yourself.’ Show us your power. The robber on the side of Jesus adds ‘if you save yourself, save me while you are at.’ Show us and we will follow.
This is the power I am wanting. This is the power I was praying for this morning. This is the power I want in my life.
This is not the power Jesus promises to us now. Just as Satan was reveling in his victory Jesus burst forth in His power! Jesus rose from the dead showing that death and Satan had no power over Him and that He had all the power and control all along.
And yet even this power is not the power I imagine. Because I still live here in this world where my friends hurt. I live in a world with sickness. I live in a world where the church pews can be vacant. I live in a world where my dreams and desires are put on hold. I still live in a world where relationships are broken by hurt words, wrongdoings, and death. I still live in a world where you can see clearly the blood on the burial clothes and the power of Jesus’ resurrection seems a little blurry.
I still live in a world where you can see clearly the blood on the burial clothes and the power of Jesus’ resurrection seems a little blurry.
The promise of the cross and Easter is that although I cannot always see it or experience it, Jesus is in control. He can see a bigger picture than I can even imagine. And He promises that He is the first fruit of the living. He promises that He will come again. And in that day He will come in the power that I imagine. He will come in power that can not be disputed and all will know His power and might. The thing is at that time there will be no more turning to His side. All will be decided and so as we live now in this world Jesus calls us to share His power in our everyday.
A little later in the prayer I prayed this line, ‘…give me grace to understand that the world I cannot see or touch is the most real world of all.’ and ‘My business will be with things material, but behind them let me be aware of things spiritual.’ You see, while I search for Jesus’ power in my life I am looking for visible, touchable power and that is in my life although not the way I imagine.
Jesus has control of all things visible and invisible. I am invited to look for what He is doing in my everyday, messed up life. Sharing these with those around us shares His power now so that in the day He comes in ALL power and glory all people will be gathered around Him.
Share your stories of what Jesus is doing in your life. Share your stories of the power He is showing in your life. Seriously, write a Story Card to share it with us, with me. Because in your stories of Jesus working in your life I am strengthened in the knowledge that Jesus has power in my life.
In your stories of Jesus working in your life I am strengthened in the knowledge that Jesus has power in my life.
I promise it will not look like the power you want or imagine. His power might look like a friend saying a kind and helpful word at just the right time. Jesus’ power might show up when you call on someone you haven’t seen in a long while. His power might not be words. It might just be a hug when someone is hurting. Jesus’ power comes through you to others, to me as we live in the very clear reality of brokenness.