In Romans 4:17, Paul tells us that Abraham believed in God as the one “who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.”
As the spiritual heirs of Abraham, do we really believe that this is an accurate description of God?
I am finding that while my head acknowledges many truths about God and about how the Christian life should be lived, my actual practice shows that I do not fully believe. My agitation and hesitation when difficulties present themselves demonstrate my partial unbelief.
Progress in the Christian life is demonstrated by the closing of this gap. While I still get upset about things beyond my control (or try to control them anyway), I do this less often and am increasingly more likely to leave it to God and not stress about it. So progress is being made . . .
But in reality, if we really got our heads around the truth that Paul claims in the verse cited above, our minds should be blown.
God gives life to the dead. Paul would know something about this. As a persecutor of the church, Paul was on his way to inflict further damage on the followers of Jesus when he received a brutal summons to cease and desist. Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus giving Paul spiritual life that he never had before.
In our church life, we can have a siege mentality thinking that we need to hunker down behind our walls and keep ourselves safe from the unbelieving world outside.
On the other hand, if we believe that God is the one who brings life to the dead, that should influence how we respond to those outside the church. If God can take a murderer and turn him into the apostle that wrote a majority of our New Testament books, he can certainly bring spiritual life to the community around our church.
The second phrase in the verse quoted above tells us that God calls into being that which does not currently exist.
Since the Fall, human existence is full of broken relationships. Estranged spouses, children, parents and friends are part of every person’s experience. We often assume that this is just how it is and nothing can be done about it.
But if this description of God is true and he can call into being that which does not currently exist, then God can restore those broken relationships. Do we trust him to do so?
God can call into being employment that is so desperately needed. God can call into being whatever is necessary for you to complete what he has called you to do.
While we can often only see the limits, we are called to see beyond them. Why? Because we worship and serve a limitless God.