“But how far will they go?”
How far will God go?
That is what we really ask: How far will God go to be there for us in our most dire need? We question whether he will make a way, an unexpected change we never thought could happen. Do we trust him to come up with the least likely solution we never would have requested because it offered no pathway to our limited senses?
In our estimations, we make things easier on ourselves by praying only for what we believe attainable instead of asking God for what he is able and willing to do. We especially fail in confessing to him we need a solution beyond our ability or knowledge.
Even still, God can take our five loaves of bread and two fish prayers and turn them into feasts for hungry crowds. It takes a request that he intervene in a way we might not foresee, yet trust he will not only do something, but something good and better than expected.
And more important, God is able to take a prayer that is less than his best for us and turn it into his better plan, then fill it. In our efforts to avoid, but hopefully come to seek God in prayer, we need to recognize that if a burden is on our hearts to bring someone or something specific to him, it may be he has a plan to use us in the answer.
We can turn over to God’s caring heart all our questions about how to ask. If he has a plan to use us as part of the answer, he will prepare the way. He will not drop us in our burden to remain in prayer, but see a matter through if it involves us in some way even if our part is only to pray.
We should never fear praying to God who is loving and knows our communication skills are imperfect. Even with our best thought-out wording, he sees what we cannot and is more than happy to guide our prayers:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
An Unlimited God
We exit our faith in God when we narrow our view of his goodness, when we see God as if he is human, possessing great potential, yet undeniable limits.
Only God has no limit on what he is able to do – and willing if we, in humility, ask for his help to pray, diligently wait, and trust that he will direct our prayers and provide a loving, faithful answer that will serve to meet our needs and those of others:
..so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5-9
In Simple Trust
It is always better to simply go to him, even if we have to stumble over our words. This is not always acceptable to people because we are met with impatience from others when we falter in our speech or decisiveness. But God, who is patient, promises he understands what we know and do not know, and is more than willing to grant us wisdom to help us with our unbelief:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24
The boy with only five loaves of bread and two fish? It made no sense to try and feed a huge crowd with that little amount. But it was not about what the boy had or did not have.
It was about who Jesus is.
It was about a God with boundless love and power to change anything into what brings salvation to lost people, turning a bad situation into a good one, a new one. It is still about that now, today, in your life and mine.