What if God doesn’t do it? We’ve all heard sermons at some point in time telling us to “name it and claim it” or “speak it into existence,” but do our words really have creative power? What about God’s sovereignty? God being Sovereign means that He is Supreme Ruler over everyone and everything and will ultimately do as He pleases (Psalm 115:3). Though our words have the ability to build up or tear down, ultimately influencing behavior (1 Cor 15:33, James 3), scripture tells us it is God who speaks those things that be not as though they were, not us (Romans 4:17).
I'm convinced when we fail to acknowledge God’s sovereign will, we are often left with many false expectations of God and can develop a sense of entitlement when we pray. Through this entitlement, God is reduced to being like a genie, where if you shout and dance enough, sow enough time and money, and praise and worship hard enough, your wish is His command. Perhaps one of the biggest issues with the prosperity gospel is that God becomes obligated to you based on your faith and demands.
Growing up in church my entire life, I have seen God miraculously heal many people from all sorts of sickness and disease, many of which were close to death. I’ve also seen many people who loved God die from accident and disease. Despite them and a host of saints praying, fasting, and believing God for their total healing, they still died. I watched as friends and family who prayed and believed, sat in hurt and confusion not understanding why God did not answer their fervent prayers. In my questioning I’ve learned it is true whatever we ask for in His name He will do, but that doesn’t include things outside of His will.
In scripture we see God being moved by faith, as well as not moving because of unbelief. We also see God giving a different response than requested. Jesus told the woman with the issue of blood, that her faith made her whole (Matt 9:22). She was completely healed by the power of God of an infirmity she had wrestled with for 12 years! In Matt 13:58, while in His home town of Nazareth, scripture tells us that Jesus didn’t do many mighty works there because of unbelief. That unbelief spurred from them viewing Him as their equal and not as the Son of God. We also see Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 pleading with the Lord three times to take away the thorn in his flesh which was sent from satan. It is unclear whether or not the thorn was a physical infirmity or a type of temptation, but whichever it was the Lord did not remove it. Instead the Lord responds in verse 9 with “my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Then in the same verse Paul’s prayer actually changes to praising God for the thorn. Crazy right? Paul began to bless God for the very tool of the enemy that was meant to throw him off course because he recognized that it was the very thing God desired to use to push him into a greater level of power in Him.
I truly believe God desires to show us that His faithfulness isn’t determined by circumstance, whether good or bad. So regardless of what God decides to do we can be confident that He is working all things together for the good of them that love Him and are called in agreement with His purpose (Rom 8:29). God demonstrates His faithfulness, not just in answered prayers, but the grace He provides in the midst of those unanswered. To know a peace that has nothing to do with circumstance (good or bad) is to know God’s power and compassion. So just like Apostle Paul in Phillipians 4 writes from a prison cell, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and find true contentment in Jesus.
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This post first appeared here on Gabriel T. Parker's website and was reprinted with permission.