Ephesians 3:20 has been an encouragement to me for years now. It says “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” The Lord gave me that verse years ago when contemplating a desire he had begun to put in me to impact those around me for His kingdom through writing. Interestingly and amid circumstances totally unexpected, years later in July 2011, this verse has ignited an inner faith without which I wouldn’t be about to express to you what I’m about to express. You see, I found out I had a cancerous brain tumour in early July. But I’m here to express – and hopefully encourage you – that I am very confident that I will be healed of this and live many years this side of eternity. The source of that confidence is my relationship with Jesus and His Spirit who empowers me.
He is able. Those three words suffice. No justification required. No explanation required of how, where, or when He might accomplish it. No need to defer to, in this case, the medical community and to the often gloomy prognoses for those inflicted with this disease.
Through His mighty power at work within us. That is the operative phrase in the verse. His Spirit, deposited in me in response to my faith in Christ, is the source of my hope and expectation of victory in this battle. This is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. It is His Spirit, accessible to us today whatever the circumstances. If detached from His Spirit, I am left to fight this battle on my own strength, which would virtually devoid me of hope and expectation of victory. As Zechariah 4:6 says, “it is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” His Spirit, infused with our faith in Christ, is critical. I actually prefer the New International Version, which says “…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” According to his power suggests to me an accord, an agreement. We have to operate according to, in agreement with, His Spirit and how He is calling us to walk in and through the circumstances at hand.
To accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. That’s the outcome of the combination of His Spirit in us and our cooperation with Him. Infinitely more; I like that. Our God is a God of the infinite, the limitless. We can ask and think big and expect a surpassing response! Admittedly, it’s easy to become discouraged and fearful if focusing on doctor’s prognoses, cancer-related statistics, or stories of individuals with brain tumors with undesirable outcomes. But Ephesians 3:20 renews hope and sharpens the focus. In God’s eyes, this tumour is minute and so within His power to heal.
Lying in my hospital bed the night my wife told me that the removed tumour was cancerous, after some initial fear and shock (I had been believing for a benign tumour), I lay there with an anticipation, an excitement, of what God was about to do, of how God was going to work this out, and of the impact it was going to have on the lives of those who know me. I’ve never had a more powerful illustration of God’s Spirit at work in me. For this is me, John, historically a worrier to end all worriers, after being told that a tumour just removed from his brain contained cancer, who is now looking with anticipation regarding how – not if – God was going to heal him. I’ve experienced greater anxiety over far less serious, certainly not life threatening, circumstances. It was an undeniably God-given peace, that which surpasses all understanding, which was covering me.
Now all glory to God. The glory for what God is about to do must go exclusively to Him. I know God will hold up His end of the agreement. My role is to walk by faith and not by sight, trusting Him to prove whom He says He is and to do what He promises to do. Please feel free to join me on this journey.