IMPOSSIBLE. IMPENETRABLE. UNCHANGEABLE. Maybe so . . . until God gets involved. No matter the details of your circumstance, His raw power potential and immeasurable ability refuse to cower in the face of any challenge. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. Not even that thing.
This is the uplifting, well-reasoned answer from New York Times best-selling author Priscilla Shirer—not a denial of life’s adversities and troubles, but a biblical reminder that God is always up to great things, even when His great things are greater then instant remedies and visible change. He is a God who cares . . . and a God who CAN. Believe it. Experience it. God Is Able.
|Publisher:||B&H Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
|Age Range:||3 Months to 18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
God Is Able
By Priscilla Shirer
B&H Publishing GroupCopyright © 2013 Priscilla Shirer
All rights reserved.
What is it?
Come on, you can tell me.
I know there's something specific that brought you to this book or brought this book to you.
Because everybody's got something.
No matter who you are, however old or young, there's always at least one thing. That thing in your life you can't seem to—you know, escape or fix or solve. It's just ... it's ...
It's always there. Just when you think you've maybe figured out a little piece of it—how you might be able to handle it better, manage it, work around it, or get out ahead of it—it always seems to end up beating you, or at least keeping you awake in the wee hours of the night.
You've tried. (Oh, Lord, how you've tried.) You've prayed. You've asked. You've begged. You've fretted. You've calculated. You've eaten better. You've exercised more.
You've tried being gentler, then firmer. Louder, then quieter. More assertive, then more submissive. You've admitted where you went wrong and refused to gloat when you were right. You feel like you've done everything you can think of. And honestly, you're starting to seriously wonder now if God can do this, if He can do ... It.
You'd still like to think He can. And if you were to spout all your churchy rhetoric, it'd sure sound like you believe He can. But deep down—down where your soul pulses with doubt and uneasiness—you wonder about that circumstance, that life issue, that dilemma you're facing. God may be able to keep the stars in the sky, the earth tilted on its axis, and the heavens hung in glorious array. But can He do this?
What is it? It's okay. Be honest. Name it.
Might make it easier on you, I guess, if I go first, huh? So I'll start ... 'cause, you know, I've got a few Its myself.
Surprised? You shouldn't be.
Here, hold my purse while I climb down from whatever pedestal you may have placed me on so we can talk eye to eye.
I know how it happens: you see a speaker on stage, you listen to a teacher on the radio, you read the words of an author, and somehow you think they've got it all together. I've done the same thing. Catapulted that mere human to superhuman status, as if someone so obviously godly couldn't possibly struggle with the same problems the rest of us face. They're just a little too special for life to treat them that way.
But I've found it's just not true. Nobody is exempt from these things. Like you, I've seen my share of situations that have been so difficult or have caught me so off guard, they've carved out a deep foothold where doubt could settle in. And yet God loves me far too much—same as He loves you—to keep me from confronting them. Because if you and I didn't turn to face these things, we'd never come face to face with Him. And our God's not having any of that.
So, yes, I'll start:
* Fifteen years ago, I didn't believe He could heal my broken heart.
* Twelve years ago, I wasn't certain He'd be able to save my marriage.
* Ten years ago, I wondered if He was able to let me safely bear a child.
* Eight years ago, I questioned if He could ease a heavy cloak of guilt and regret I was harboring.
* Five years ago, I had only a thin shred of hope that He could salvage a cherished friendship.
* Four years ago, I didn't see any way we could purchase a key piece of property we needed.
* Three years ago, I had little faith He could heal my son of some troubling emotional issues.
* Two years ago, I doubted He could free me from a paralyzing sense of fear and anxiety.
* And even as recently as last year, I seriously questioned if I was suited for the ministry God had entrusted to me. In fact, I questioned it enough that in my darkest moments, I considered throwing in the towel.
And listen, that's just the past fifteen years. I'll spare you my whole life story in hopes you won't check me off your reading list.
(All right, I'm finished now. You can hand me back my purse.)
The fact is, I have never had much trouble believing in the power of God when it was theoretical, when all the action my faith required of me was saying "Amen" during a sermon. As long as the problem was somebody else's, I could believe in God's big-time ability with a big old sense of gusto.
Like when I was a kid, for instance. I remember "testimony service" at my childhood church like it was yesterday. A couple of Sunday evenings a month, folks would come forward to declare the work of God in their lives. No doubt one of the ladies would be sporting her coordinating suit and fancy church hat (with a feather or some other décor hanging off of it) as she stood in front of the congregation and filled the microphone with all the things God had been up to. Everything from the foreclosure notice on her house, the repossession order for her car, her unfaithful husband, or her rebellious child being miraculously transformed by God's miracle-working power. As children, my siblings and I would sit in the pews during this stirring part of the service, listening to the lady's voice grow deeper and more forceful with each new revelation. That feather on top of her velvet hat would dance a little jig, which would always capture our attention. We tried to listen—promise we did—but sometimes we couldn't help but nudge each other and giggle. We were hoping beyond hope that her hat—or at least the bouncy feather on it—would come flying off her head into the front pew, just to make things really exciting. But Mommy wasn't having any of that. She'd tell us to quiet down and sit up straight—and listen. So we did. Then we applauded with the rest of the congregation in celebration of what God could do ... and was actually doing.
Yup, faith seemed easier then.
But not anymore. When I'm staring now at my own dilemmas, trying to keep the hat of sanity on my own head, a little seed of doubt surprises me by taking root and often blossoming into a whole forest of questions about His ability and/or willingness to take care of them.
Somehow, I think you can relate.
In the midst of these various challenges and struggles that come together to threaten my sense of security, stability, and balance, I've found my worst fears confirmed. I am insufficient, outmatched, and incapable of fixing everything. Sometimes I don't know how I'm going to make it through the day. But I've also learned something else—something that has changed my entire life.
God is able.
Time and again, He has proven very plainly to me that He is not held down by what holds us. He has bowled me over with His capacity and inclination to do the unthinkable, both in my own life as well as in the lives of others. As surely as He's tested me, He has also given me testimony. And it would be a grand cover-up on my part not to tell His part of the story in the same big, bold colors.
For instance ...
* * *
A nine-year-old boy in my church was diagnosed with a brain tumor that stunned us all.
Nine years old.
Doctors said if the cancer didn't claim his life, the required surgeries would almost certainly claim his memory and severely alter his personality. So against this kind of desperate, disheartening backdrop, we stopped what we were doing and we prayed. And God heard (as He always does) and answered—clearly, miraculously, powerfully.
Saw this young man at a gathering just last month. He's sixteen now, and I can tell you he's a lot more worried about what the girls think of him now than what the doctors do.
He's healed. He's whole.
* * *
After twenty-five years, my friend's husband decided to leave her. Ran off to a lifestyle that seemed more appealing to him than the monotonous, daily rhythm of matrimony. So she prayed. For five solid years! And wouldn't let herself doubt that God could answer (seeing as how other Christians seemed to be doing enough doubting for her).
But God set us straight one bright Sunday morning when our pastor called that husband forward in the middle of service and stood him by the altar. Couldn't believe it. None of us had seen him in years. But there he was, all dressed up in a suit and tie.
Then the back doors of the sanctuary swung open, the pianist let out a stirring rendition of "Here Comes the Bride," and here she came—the bride—the same bride who had walked the aisle to greet this same man thirty years earlier. Their children and grandchildren played the roles of bridesmaids and groomsmen, standing around them while the restored couple stood hand in hand at the altar. And when they said "I do" ...
It was done.
Most memorable Sunday morning of our lives.
* * *
Not too long ago, I was struggling so desperately with fear and insecurity, I thought I had lost my mind and was about to lose my ministry. Opportunities to speak and share were abounding, but for some reason I felt utterly paralyzed, immobilized, demoralized by a cloaking sense of dread and anxiety that held on to me more tightly than a toddler to the hemline of his mama's skirt.
That's not a good thing for a Bible teacher.
And it's not like the fear would pop up just here and there, or just every now and then. Every single day, at every single turn, no matter where I was or what I was doing, I was tormented by this urgent sense of Get Me Outta Here! I was up all night, then down all day, fighting back tears and sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat. For the first time in a long time, I seriously questioned my calling and my capabilities. You probably wouldn't believe how close I came to just quitting everything—whatever it took to make this awful feeling go away.
But God wouldn't let me. On separate occasions over the course of two months, He gave a few of my friends some very specific insight and discernment into me and my situation. You'd have thought they'd bugged my house and were listening in to every single prayer. They knew so much about what I was facing—and knew it in such eerily accurate detail—there wasn't much else I could do but listen when they came over and started talking. He ignited their tongues with words from heaven that spoke right to my heart. Their voices, His thoughts.
And then they prayed. Oh man, how they prayed! Not those warmed-up, leftover, mamby-pamby repeat prayers from the day before. These were the kind of prayers you can feel burrowing into your soul as each word penetrates those spiritual depths where the enemy tries to grab hold. These were prayers on fire. I walked away from each encounter leaving a trail of smoke curling up behind me. In Jesus' name, those friends commanded me out of my fear, and commanded the spirit of fear out of me.
And just like that (snap!) ... it left. It really had no choice.
I'm not saying I still don't have to work hard to keep it in check. I'm actually standing guard against it right this very minute, shooing its creepy fingers off my keyboard while I write to you. But no way is that thing taking hold of my heart again, because as sure as I'm sitting here, I know when I felt the spirit of fear lift off me and run for its life, with the sizzle of those prayers hot on its tail.
I was healed. Whole. Set free.
It was done.
* * *
Jerry and I were looking for a place to call home for our family and our ministry all together in one spot. We'd searched for property but hadn't found what we needed or what we could afford. Not on this street, at least. Yes. This one. We could have settled for a feasible option in another neighborhood a couple miles away, but for some reason I felt like we were supposed to be here. Prayed long and hard about it, yet I didn't see how it could happen ... until one day ... When. It. Just. Did.
I was driving past a house I'd ridden by for three years (including as recently as the day before) when I spotted the sign in the front yard. It couldn't have been there for more than ten or twelve hours. And in my mind I could see our name scrawled across it in bright pink writing. Where it said "For Sale," I was almost certain it also said "For the Shirers."
The sellers wanted out, and we wanted in.
I was so happy and excited and content. And yet there were reasons why, as perfect as it seemed, it wasn't exactly right for us. It still didn't have enough room for our ministry operation. After we bought it, we were forced to run our office out of a small bedroom and let our staff work from home till we could figure something else out.
Little did we know, however, that our new property was attached to another piece of land that already contained existing office space—and an owner who, two years later, would offer us the land and buildings for less than half of what he'd been trying to sell it for originally.
Less. Than. Half.
I'm not making this up. That's just how it happened.
It was done.
Instantaneously. Inexplicably. Unbelievably. Not because we're so smart or had planned so strategically, but just because ...
God is able.
* * *
We like to travel with our children regularly when ministry calls us on the road. We've been to Australia. London. Cape Town. Too many U.S. states to name. It's humbling and it's a privilege. But, wow, is it expensive! And once the kids moved past two years old—when their airline seats were no longer free—we weren't sure how to manage. Still aren't, really. We love for them to be able to see new places and to catalog these unforgettable experiences together with us as a family. But we also love being able to buy groceries, right?
Just recently, when looking at the prices of everything and comparing them against our budget, we didn't see how we could afford the expense anymore of all five of us jumping on a plane very often like that. Our only option, really, was to start declining invitations and curtailing our travel so our family could be together—which is where we all wanted to be. And yet a steady, fiery, divine calling kept rising in my heart and in Jerry's heart. We knew the Lord was commissioning us to go ... and to stay with our family at the same time. What to do?
We were out of the country at a particular conference when a stranger—listen to me now—a man from Singapore we'd never met before in our lives, leaned over to us and asked if we were employed by a church or if we were just in itinerant ministry. We told him we're happily active members of our local church but are not on its payroll.
That was the entire conversation. Nice meeting you, too, sir.
But before the night was over, that man handed us a check written for an amount steep enough to cart all five of us Shirers halfway around the world and back.
My mouth was agape. So was Jerry's (and trust me, his mouth doesn't drop open like that very often).
Again, it was done.
Covered. Handled. Miracle.
Sure, we've got future trips to figure out, but you'd better believe we'll have a different outlook moving forward. Why?
Because God is able.
He keeps proving it time and time again.
* * *
I could go on like this with amazing stories of the way God has changed our circumstances, the way He's changed me. And to be clear, I could also give you an equally long list of times when He has not answered me exactly how I'd requested and I've been left feeling disappointed, confused, and unsure.
Just because God can doesn't mean He will.
But just because He hasn't doesn't mean He won't.
The bottom line is that He is able. And because He is able, and because He is love, our hearts are completely secure in every situation, no matter how desperate or chronic or time-sensitive.
So as you start making your list, I don't want you to limit your range of Its to the obvious and external: unemployment, marriage problems, rebellious children, medical test results, compulsive addictions, looming bankruptcy. Sometimes His greatest miracles arrive not in the form of dollar signs and clean X-rays but in transformed attitudes and an abundance of unexplainable peace. Sometimes His best work is not what He does for us but what He does inside us. And believe me, that is no consolation prize.
Excerpted from God Is Able by Priscilla Shirer. Copyright © 2013 Priscilla Shirer. Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
First: Tell Me 1
Chapter 1 Time: "Now…" 19
Chapter 2 Turning: "to Him…" 39
Chapter 3 Truth: "who is able to do…" 57
Chapter 4 Transcendence: "exceeding abundantly beyond…" 75
Chapter 5 Totality: "all that we ask or think…" 95
Chapter 6 Turbo: "according to the power that works within us …" 113
Chapter 7 Tribute: "to Him be the glory…" 135
Finally Tell It 151