God is able

A phrase that’s been on the front of my mind lately is one you’ll hear in sermons, in songs, or written on posters or in sympathy cards. It comes from Ephesians 3:20.

God is able.

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If you’re like me, though, every once in a while you might ask yourself, “What is He able to do, exactly?” I think the Sunday School answer is everything. But that doesn’t necessarily help me when I’m stuck in traffic and frustrated, or when I make a mistake at work, or when I say something that’s not exactly encouraging to someone. Or for you, maybe you’re losing patience with your kids, or lost out on a big work project, or didn’t do so hot on a recent test. Or maybe you just accomplished something significant, or did get that big work project. There’s still a need for God even in those situations, right? It could almost be anything at all that points us to a need for something more.

What has made the phrase relevant in my life recently is acknowledging that I sometimes get caught in this cycle:

Feeling discouraged <turns into> thinking something will or won’t happen <turns into>  doubt <turns into> unhealthy behavior <turns into> guilt.

So I’ll admit, then, sometimes I wonder about it. “Is God able?” I’ll ask. Is He actually able to help me with what I’m doing today? Using the cycle above, is He able to keep me from diving into discouragement, etc?

Then recently it dawned on me: Yes, He is. Because His ability to “do” isn’t constrained by and doesn’t rely on my belief that He can. He can. He can. That’s it. He can. It’s like wondering if a beagle howls. Or a dolphin jumps. Or if grass is green. The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Whether I believe it or not, the grass is still green. A dolphin will still jump. A beagle will still howl.

And God is able.

So I’m thankful today that even in my wavering ups and downs where for one minute I’m singing How Great Thou Art and the next I’m quoting one of my favorite lines from Rescue Dawn – “God, why don’t You help us when we need You most?” – God is still there, and He is still able.

-Out of the Wilderness

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How Great Thou Art – Performance

POST UPDATE: Holly Tucker, a contestant on The Voice, recently performed “How Great Thou Art” on the show (link is below). Read on for the rest of this post about two other artists that have performed this song…

Carrie Underwood has not earned the one-name reference (ie. Elvis, Cher, Madonna, Britney, etc)… yet. But there’s no denying how good she is as a singer, performer, and an off-stage role model. She recently performed “How Great Thou Art” for a television special and her rendition of the song is drawing comparisons to Elvis’ performance of that song. I’ve conveniently included them in this post so you can draw your own conclusion. At the end of the day, they both win because they sing the song so well. When I watch Carrie’s, I think to myself, “This is what true worship is. It’s giving what you’re best at back to God and doing it with an undeniable passion.” It’s apparent she was singing for a larger audience than just the people in that auditorium, and I have a feeling there was a giant smile in Heaven for 5 minutes and 12 seconds. Didn’t hurt having Vince Gill on guitar and backup vocals either. She holds the last “thou art” for a solid 15 seconds, and it’s simply great. 

People say Elvis was the only Rock n’ Roller to include Gospel music in his concerts, and why not? He sang them so well. His version of “How Great Thou Art” is more Southern Gospel than Carrie’s version, but just as touching. Personally, I like Carrie’s better. Who’s do you like better? Why?