Not too long ago I read about an interview given to a leading magazine by one of the great singers of our generation. In it he explains to the interviewer that when he and his fellow musicians go into a studio to record a song, they all have a general idea of the song and the part each of them must play to make a good recording. That said this musical icon went on to admit that not everything is nailed down, for both he and everyone else in the studio, “Leave room for God to walk in the room.” They look for that moment of inspiration or creativity where the recording goes in a direction that no one expected, where something special happens that makes the song special.
Leaving the recording studio behind, you and I might want to carry that idea and insight into life itself. In the midst of our problems, pursuits, prayers, persecutors or preaching we might want to leave room for God to show up in a manner that displays His glory, humbles His enemies, blesses our lives and advances His kingdom. I love the thought of making room for God to show up, of expecting the unexpected, of dreaming the impossible. It is always good to remind oneself that a little bit more of God makes up for a great deal less of us.
In fact, this idea of leaving room for God is a Pauline perspective. In Romans 12:19 The great apostle encourages the Christians in Rome to “give place to wrath” or as the NIV puts it “leave room for God’s wrath.” The immediate context is one in which the Christian is being encouraged when hurt or unjustly treated not to repay evil with evil, but to repay evil with good, knowing that God will avenge the evil we encounter (Rom. 12:17-21). Paul is teaching the Romans to let God settle the score. They must avoid the temptation to repay their persecutors in the amount of equal pain, but rather leave room for God to act in swift, just, and final judgment.
That said, we would do well to leave room for God to act in other ways and other situations. If we ought to leave room for God’s wrath, ought we not also to leave room for God’s love, sovereignty, power, mercy, grace, wisdom, and faithfulness in our lives. Leaving room for God is not a call to passivity! We must act, think, plan, fight, and pursue solutions, but in the midst of all those things we must leave room for God to do exceedingly abundantly above that we can do, think, or achieve (Psalm 127:1-2; Eph. 3:20-21).
We must leave room for God to show up! As Cameron V. Thompson wrote: “We must let God work. That is, we should not try to answer our own prayers, unless the Lord Himself should lead that way. Shall we take a sieve and try to make a passage through the Red Sea by bailing out the water, or shall we push at the walls of Jericho while marching round them? ‘Commit thy way unto [roll thy way upon] the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).” That is a good word!
Is your faith big enough where there is still room for God to show up?