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Garris Elkins

There are times when we discover our greatest accomplishments are not really our own. We come to learn that the fulfillment of these accomplishments belongs to God, who met us at a place in our journey when we did not know where to place our foot for the next step.

In those moments, the Lord invites us to a place of rest, where we offer to Him our need to control all aspects of our life. In that offering, we give our life to Him at a deeper level.

It is when we discover God was waiting to meet us and help us complete the final and most challenging leg of our journey that we experience outcomes beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. This is what Paul was referring to when he wrote in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (NKJV).

When I was a small boy, our family would visit relatives in a distant city. My parents would make a bed for my brother and me on the backseat of our family car. We would be tucked into our makeshift bed at the end of the evening in preparation for the long drive home.

When we arrived home, my father would carry our sleeping bodies inside and put us to bed. It was always an unusual feeling to awaken the next morning and, for a moment, not realize how I had gotten into my bed the night before, when my last memory was driving away from our relatives’ house. As I lay in bed, the most wonderful feeling was realizing my father had carried me to bed the night before without my knowledge. Those feelings made me feel safe.

So much of our understanding of leadership and serving centers on what we can do for God, but the most profound things take place when God does for us what we cannot accomplish in our own strength and ability. When Paul spoke to the Ephesians, he was referring to something “infinitely more than we might ask or think” (NLT). In other words, God is at work in the unseen places to bring supernatural resolutions that not even our most intense prayers could imagine nor our best preparations could produce.

Some of us who lead and serve in the church have come to a crippling conclusion that we are responsible for everything. While we want to be as faithful as possible, the best outcome takes place when God shows up and does what we cannot accomplish on our best day.

I want to encourage you to continue in your faithfulness, but never allow your faithfulness, or the lack of it, to have the final word. God is always at work on the other side of your most creative imagination, your best efforts and most heartfelt prayers. He is carrying you through the night so that you will awaken in a new place, surprised at His goodness and care.

This requires that we trust Him. Some of the greatest leaders I know have learned to rest when they could do nothing more, trusting their faithful Father to create outcomes that were beyond their wildest imagination.

Prayer Points

  • Ask God to show you those places in your life where you are trying to accomplish His will in your strength and experience. Ask Him for forgiveness.
  • Invite God to bring a solution and an outcome that are beyond your ability to conceive or produce. Ask for an Eph. 3:20 kind of answer.
  • Ask God to give you the level of patience and trust required to wait for the arrival of His answer.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is an assisting minister at Living Waters (Medford Foursquare Church) in Medford, Ore.