I am really blessed to have been raised by two amazing people who love God and me so deeply. I really did grow up believing that I could do and be absolutely anything I wanted if I was willing to put the work in. I didn’t fully realize what a rare blessing it was to have that type of support and external belief in you until I became a teacher and was heart broken by the number of kids who are already so broken in spirit by 13 or 14 years old.
Honestly, I still believe this about myself…(well, okay, maybe I couldn’t do anything I wanted…my parents call me grace for a reason…and it’s a sarcastic one – so any ballerina or figure skating dreams I had as a child, I have safely set aside (you are all welcome)).
Now, though, this is largely because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. I know I would only act in His will through prayerful reflection, so of course I could accomplish what I set out – because of Him though, not me. So, I can go forth in crazy surety.
It is with this lens that I was reading the story of the Tower of Babel the other day (which is super short and found in Genesis chapter 11). Basically, all the people work together to build a tower to reach the heavens.
God’s response? “Now they will be able to do anything…” (verse 6). And to prevent this, God strikes them all with different languages. So, now they can no longer communicate and won’t be able to do anything.
My response? Well, why wouldn’t God want them to be able to do anything? At first reflection, this didn’t mash with my understanding of God’s support of our ability. After all, Phillippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I spent some time reflecting on these two seemingly conflicting ideas about God’s desires for success for me before I realized my answer.
God does want us to do be able to accomplish great things…with Christ who strengthens us. He does not want us to think we can accomplish all these things without Him…because any success found without Him is empty of meaning. In many ways, this is a gift that makes faith easier. If we could do anything on our own, it would be much harder to have faith in Him. After all, if we are capable in our own right, there is no need for God.
He wants us to come to Him and rely on Him in faith. So, no, He doesn’t want us to be able to do it by ourselves, because He wants us to do it with Him.
I love my God, my life partner (and afterlife), the One who wants to do it all with me.