Wow! What Power! – Romans 1:1-17
Take a look around you. Everything you see, from the ant to the star, was made through the power of God. Even the marvels which we credit to human creativity are but a child’s imitation of the work of a Master. Paul told the Roman church that creation itself is a profound witness to the power of God.
Throughout history, God has manifested that power in many ways ranging from changing the forces of nature to the humbling of mighty armies to the conquest of death itself. However awed we are by these accounts, the more amazing is His restraint in using it. God could have made a world where humans never sinned or where humans never existed at all, but He didn’t. He could have responded to the emergence of sin by forcing humans to His will, but He didn’t. God’s choice was not to dominate, but to place Himself in a vulnerable position. He entered a universe too small to contain His glory and was cradled in an animal’s feeding trough. The God of the universe had become an infant who depended on others to feed and clothe Him. He grew up in a world where He suffered pain, disappointment, and even death. His miraculous power was demonstrated, but only enough to prove His incarnation to those who were looking for Him. Even the greatest wonder He worked, the resurrection, was witnessed directly by a comparative few. The obvious question is why this is so.
God has chosen to draw people to Himself rather than to drive them away from evil. His is not the way of fear, but of love. Overwhelming force He has left to those with lesser power; He has far greater ways of accomplishing His will. Only God would choose incarnation as a means of defeating death. Only God would seek the love of the ones who have wronged Him by placing Himself beneath them. So it is that the greatest display of power is the willingness to set it aside, to attract rather than to compel. In this time between Christmas and Easter, it is proper to reflect on this sort of power and how we might imitate its wielder.