Look carefully at Jesus’ prayer:
Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
These words give us insight into Jesus’ prayer life. Most of His praying was internal. In this particular case, Jesus prayed aloud so the crowd would hear Him and watch the spectacular miracle that followed.
I’ve spoken about the Lord’s internal fellowship with His Father elsewhere, but it’s worth noting here. And it leads us to a larger truth.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul says that the work of God can be accomplished by gold, silver, precious stone, or wood, hay, and stubble. The difference is in the weight. Gold, silver, and precious stones are heavy and imperishable. Wood, hay, and stubble are light, inexpensive, and burn up quickly.
A great deal of Christian work today is wood, hay, and stubble. The engine that drives it is human need and wisdom.
Ishmael was the result of Abraham’s impatience. Abraham grew tired of waiting on God. So he exerted his own strength, wisdom, and resources to produce a child.
But Ishmael wasn’t God’s choice. Isaac, who came much later, was the divine choice. And Isaac was born according to the principle of resurrection, when Abraham’s body was “as good as dead” and Sarah’s womb was dead as well.
Isaac was the result of God’s action. To have God work in and through us will always trump human striving and labor.
In short, God must originate His own work. He must govern its end (and it must be to His glory). Finally, He must be the One who accomplishes it.
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Notice that it’s not just “from Him” and “to Him.” It is also “through Him.”
To put it in memoir form: first I learned how to work for God. Then I learned how to work with God. Finally, I learned how to watch God work.
These truths are rarely discussed today among those who specialize in equipping Christians for ministry.
Frank Viola, author