In continuation from the last blog post - the final two questions! This article is adapted from Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp.
4. Does God have the needed power?
How do you measure the power of God? How can poor, feeble minds grasp that which is without limit? Scripture tells us that God comes to us with the same power by which he raised Christ from the dead. Now that’s a definition of ultimate power! What in the universe would be more powerful than the ability to speak life into a dead body? What could be a better definition of almighty power than to be able to rise up and walk away from being dead? There is no place where human beings are more powerless than in death.
If you’ve experienced the death of a loved one, you know what it is like. I stood next to my mom’s bed after she had died and wished for one more conversation, wished I could hear her say “I love you” one more time, wished that she could squeeze my hand and say it would be okay. I wished with all that was in me for more, but she was gone, and I was powerless to do anything about it.
God’s power is so great that he rules life and death. Now here’s why this matters. You will only have peace in the face of your own weaknesses, failures, foibles, and inabilities when you are in awe of God’s awesome power. You will only rise up to do what you don’t have the natural ability to do when you know that God’s awesome power is with you. Awe of God’s power produces courage in the face of weakness. Awe of God’s power enables you to admit your limits and yet live with courage and hope. Timidity, fear, denial, hiding, excusing, and running away are not first weakness problems but awe problems. I step into what is bigger than me because I know the One who is with me is bigger than what I am facing. What about you? How much of what you do is done out of fear and not faith? How often are you paralyzed by your weakness? Does awe of God’s power cause you to live a forward-moving and courageous life?
5. Does God care about me?
Perhaps this is the question we’re most conscious of. It’s the question that the bullied teenager asks. It’s the question asked by the wife who has watched her marriage go sour. It’s the question the exhausted parent asks at the end of a very hard day with children. It’s the question asked by the lonely single woman. The man who has just lost his job asks this question. It’s what’s asked by the person who with sadness has left the church that has lost its way. It’s what the person suffering the weaknesses of old age asks. It’s what the person asks who is struggling through a long illness. It’s what you wonder about as you watch the surrounding culture coarsen and worsen.
Helping us cultivate an ever-growing passion for God, this book highlights the importance of the concept of awe for everything we think, say, and do and leads readers to rediscover their awe for God.
God’s care is foundational. It lets me know that all that he is, he is for me. His care means he will be good for me. His care means he will do what he promised for me. His care means he will exercise his control for me. His care means he will unleash his awesome power for me. Awe of his care allows me to embrace the hope found in all of his other qualities. The Bible never debates God’s care; it assumes and declares it. It confronts you with the lavish nature of his mercy, love, patience, forbearance, grace, tenderness, and faithfulness. He is the ultimate loving Father. He is the completely faithful Friend. He is the One who stays closer than a brother. He alone will never leave you, no matter what. He is the One who never sends you without going with you. He is your protector, guide, defender, teacher, Savior, and healer. He never mocks your weakness but gives you strength. He never uses your sin against you but affords you forgiveness. He never plays favorites, never wants to give up on you, never gets exhausted or wishes he could quit. He never plays with you. He is never disloyal. His care is so awesome and so complete that nothing in your life’s experience in any way compares. He cares!
What about you? Do you go through times of disappointment and complaining because you have allowed yourself to question his care? The size of your hope is directly related to the level of your awe of God’s care.
So every word spoken in complaint, every murmur of grumbling is deeply theological. Our problem is not that the “good life” has passed us by, that people have failed us, or that life has been hard. All these things have happened to us because we live in a broken world. And if our contentment rests on life being easy, comfortable, and pleasurable, we’ll have no contentment this side of eternity. We complain so much not because we have horizontal problems but because we have a vertical problem. Only when the awe of God rules your heart will you be able to have joy even when people disappoint you and life gets hard. Awe means your heart will be filled more with a sense of blessing than with a sense of want. You will be daily blown away by what you have been given rather than being constantly disturbed by what you think you need. Awe produces gratitude, gratitude instills joy, and the harvest of joy is contentment.
Tomorrow there is a good possibility that complaint will be on your lips, and when it is, cry out for your Savior’s help. He alone can open your eyes to his glory. His grace alone can satisfy your heart. And as you cry out, remember that he is so rich in grace that he will never turn a deaf ear to your cries.
This article is adapted from Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp.