“I can do all things, all things, all things. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Philippians 4:13!”
My son sang this verse when he was quite young. It always made me smile. What mom wouldn’t want to hear her son singing the Scriptures, learning them so they can help and guide him later? It just warms the heart, doesn’t it?
That’s all well and good–until said young son catches sight of Superman. Then the really deep theological questions start to flow.
“Mom, why can’t I fly? Should I try from someplace higher? Will Jesus help me jump over buildings?”
“Well, what does ‘all things’ mean, anyway?”
That precipitated some poking around in concordances and dictionaries, and asking others who are much more scholarly than I. And, in collaboration with an author I was working with at the time, we came to this rendering of the verse:
“I can do everything God requires of me
through the power of Christ
Who is resident within me.”
Sometimes I want to be Superwoman. I want to fly through projects, leap tall stacks of paperwork in a single bound and finish housework as fast as a speeding bullet. Sadly, those things don’t usually happen quite that way. Those aren’t necessarily the “all things” that God requires of me–or at least not the timing He seeks. (He does seem to have this thing about building patience, doesn’t He?)
Sometimes, things take time, and persistence, and patience. Sometimes, the things we are so set on doing aren’t what we’re supposed to be focusing on at the moment, anyway. But it’s good to know that the power of the life of Christ is within us, enabling us to do what God asks of us.
Even if what He requires is gradual growth and patience.
And even if that means we don’t get to put on a red cape and fly.