He Alone is Able

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I consider myself a problem solver: table wobbly? fold up a napkin and put under the short leg; backyard flooded? dig a ditch to let it drain; kids bickering? give ‘em something to eat; house messy? throw everything in a basket and hide it; problems at work? give me all the details and I will tell you how to resolve. As the problems I encounter get bigger my confidence in myself quickly dissolves. Are you feeling angry at people you love for no reason? Are you encountering people affected by addition? Are you trying to confront your own addiction? Are you overcome with worry and anxiety? Faced with these problems my identity as a problem solver vanishes. Even with the small problems I can “fix,” I realize that my solution is rarely helpful in the long term. My wife wisely reminds me that hearing about a problem is not an invitation to try to fix it; more often it is an invitation to be a listening ear.

Almighty God, you alone… The Collect shares a big problem: How to bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners? I cannot solve the problem of my own unruly will, much less the unruly wills of my brothers and sisters. Faced with such a big problem, I feel powerless. However, the Collect gives me hope. It reminds me that it is not my problem-solving skills that are required but God alone is able.

In Ephesians 3:16-20 Paul shares his encouragement to his listeners:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

This passage reminds me that when I feel overwhelmed, underprepared, incapable of solving a problem that He alone is able. What a beautiful reminder that he alone is able to do more than we can even imagine.
My prayer for us this week: God come turn our hearts to you, heal our sickness, mend our city, fix our problems. You alone are able.

No Comments