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beyond our control

Lately, there have been many articles posted in regards to COVID-19 and for a good reason. We need to be informed, encouraged, and reminded of truth during these times. Honestly, I sit here today, feeling like I have nothing new or unique to share with our church and community.

This week, I was reading one of my many books for grad school, and an old book in my library caught my eye. The book, Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, was written over ninety years ago by an Anglican missionary named Roland Allen.

Last year, one of my professors had recommended our class to read this book in our free time. I was probably the only one to take him up on the offer. As I began scanning my previous highlights and notes, one quote in particular resonated with me. Here is what it says:

Such missionaries pray for the wind of the Spirit but not for a rushing mighty wind. I am writing because I believe in a rushing mighty wind, and desire its presence at all costs to our restrictions...I mean something which we cannot control. And if we cannot control it, we ought, as I think, to rejoice that we cannot control it. For if we cannot control it, it is because it is too great not because it is too small for us. The great things of God are beyond our control. Therein lies a vast hope. Spontaneous expansion could fill the continents with the knowledge of Christ: our control cannot reach as far as that.

Allen, Roland. The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes Which Hinder It. Lutterworth Press, 2006.

Allen was referring to international church growth in his book, but I think he is on to something here. He suggests that God leads significant spiritual change when people can’t control it. It does not mean that our lack of control is the only time God does great things. However, its a reminder that when we aren’t in control, God is, and he is working mightily.

I want to understand God and his ways right now. Unfortunately, and thankfully, I cannot. I want to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit during these days; however, I too often believe in the “power” of me, and I tangibly feel my weakness.

I like having control. I like knowing the answers. Those two do not mix with the unknowns of our world. Right now, the unknown is COVID-19, and in the future, it will be something else.

Thankfully, there is one who is in control and has the answers, and his name is Jesus. Pray. Cry out to him. He uses the pain, sorrow, and anxieties of our world to change lives. He is changing mine, and I pray he is changing yours.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13

questions to consider

  • Are the great things of God are out of our control? Why or why not?
  • How does the reality that Holy Spirit is mighty and more powerful than the forces of our world shed light on your situation?
  • Do you believe God is bringing global revival through our current circumstances? Are you ready for this revival?

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