Welcome to DAY 14 of our online Bible study on Ephesians!
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Read: Ephesians 3:20-21
As we took that last familiar turn up the hill, my heart longed to go straight. I wanted to head in the back way, past my favorite strip of ocean blue and grab a glimpse of the iconic green cottage that marked my “peace place on a summer evening.” Peace was what I really craved, especially before entering into the furry of emotions the weekend would hold.
Returning home isn’t always easy.
The structures might still be standing in the same square footage, but a little renovation here and there makes the place feel . . . different. You can walk through a door and the smell alone may bring you back in time, but all that fills that space can quickly remind you that life has moved on. Even a deep embrace from a treasured friend can muster up equal part gratitude and grief, wishing for “do-overs” of the best memories along with a wave of sadness over no longer doing life face-to-face and wondering, “Why did we leave again?”
Sometimes, God’s “far more abundantly than all we ask or think” can leave us totally bewildered, absolutely lost, and utterly confused. Even though we often quote Ephesians 3:20 as a hope-filled promise of what God has yet to do, the reality is that the yearning for more requires embracing and sometimes, enduring, the moment in which He is already working.
God’s yet-to-be blessings may very well be happening in the middle of our yet-to-be realized life.
In the days that followed our decision to leave our boarding school community and home of 18 years, we lived in the both/and of God’s provisions — both the unwavering hope and the utter confusion of how God was indeed working in an Ephesians 3:20 way.
We never wanted to leave our mission field and the very place where we invested our blood, sweat, and eternity-bent tears. We were the “old-timers” with well-earned stripes who counted it a privilege to impress upon the rookies the best of boarding school life rather than focusing on the sacrifice. And yet, there were issues leading us to a crossroad in which God chose to take us down a path we never anticipated. His “exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine” looked like uprooting our tween and teenage children and relocating three states away into a life 180 degrees different than what we knew and loved
The only way we were able to walk in humbled obedience was because He was already at work in our hearts — all six of us.
“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us . . .” (Ephesians 3:20 AMPC)
I’m sure you’d agree that telling your 16-year-old daughter she’ll be starting a new school for her junior year isn’t something you’d put on your top 10 list of great parenting tips. And yet, she was the one that said, “God is all over this thing. We’ve got to go.” That’s God’s doing, because . . .
He is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] —
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. There were enough tears shed by our family to fill another ocean. We walked through loneliness, doubt, fear, worry. We grieved all the firsts — the first missed day of school at our old school. The first Thanksgiving without family. The first trip to the new dentist, because it wasn’t Dr. Musoff’s office — oh yes, you can love a dentist.
Even in the midst of grief there was evidence of God at work.
His super-abundantly more provisions came in waves, beyond the blessing of a home and friendly neighbors. He planted us minutes from a church that all six of us were able to embrace. He gave each of us heart-deep friendships, even for our oldest who could have been the least motivated to try. God even went above and beyond, with relocating to our neck of the woods friends-like-family from the soil in which we once had our roots dug down deep. Now tell me, is that not God’s super-abundantly more blessings to have old friends — yes, multiple families — in our new hometown area?
Even in the midst of blessing He still does more . . .
Could it be that we don’t see God at work, because we’re not looking for Him to work? Maybe we’re too focused on the grief and grit. Maybe we’re longing for something more, rather than embracing the now. But what if we we’re simply willing to accept the both/and of Ephesians 3:20?
Yes, God can and will do super-abundantly more than we ask or imagine in both the waiting and wondering, the trials and transitions, and in the unfolding of our hoped-for blessings. Friend, I pray your eyes may be open to see His super-abundantly more for you today.
~ Diving Deeper ~
Do you see God at work in the “both/and” of Ephesians 3:20 in your life?