You may recall this quote from the genie (voiced so brilliantly by Robin Williams) in the animated movie “Aladdin.” Genie was describing himself, empowered to fulfill any wish, yet trapped inside a tiny bottle until summoned by a wisher.
He could have been describing any one of us who have been filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
Human beings are made of dust. God formed a handful of dust, breathed on it, making it a living soul, and imparted to that soul the spirit-image of himself. An itty-bitty lump of dirt became infused with cosmic power.
I’ve often reflected with gratitude that “God remembers we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). This assures his compassion when we fail. We may try our best, and still fail, because of the limitations of our tiny-ness and dustiness. And God remembers.
Yet…Jesus told his disciples that those who believe in him (and that means us), would do the same works he did and even greater works! (John 14:12). Apparently, the Lord who remembers that we are dust also remembers that we have phenomenal cosmic power within. And he expects us to use it.
How are we to use the power he has placed within these soulish clods of dust? The way he did. With compassion, with love, with faith like a tiny grain of mustard seed. Isn’t it interesting that even our faith can be tiny relative to God’s power, and still accomplish mighty deeds!
Loving people is how we display our phenomenal cosmic power. Healing. Speaking words of life. Freeing people from the oppressive power of the devil. Delivering the captives.
We may think that only Jesus and the prophets of old could walk in the miraculous, because we don’t directly witness a lot of the supernatural these days. Or, more accurately, we don’t ascribe very much of what happens to the realm of the miraculous.
But we aren’t biblically correct to hold that belief. Scripture attests to the reality of the miraculous throughout. Much of what is happening today is miraculous; perhaps we haven’t trained our senses to perceive it that way. And if you believe, as many do, that we are in the last days, we should be seeing God’s beneficent power being increasingly unleashed by “ordinary” people:
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
Well, you might say, what if I minister to someone in the Spirit and they don’t get better? Or what if I prophesy and I’m not sure I’m speaking accurately? Or what if the vision I see is only the result of stress or indigestion?
That is not to be our concern. When Jesus heard two blind men calling out to him for help, he asked his disciples what was going on. The crowd told the two to shut up, but they would not. They knew Jesus, the Son of David, could heal them.
Jesus, a bit like the genie, asks them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And of course, when they said they wanted to see, that is exactly the wish that was granted (Matt. 20:29-34). If Jesus had walked by these two, hardening his heart like the crowd wanted him to, they probably would have been blind for the rest of their lives. Would anyone benefit from that?
When we know we have the ability to minister grace, provision, sight, healing, encouragement, deliverance, or hope to another hurting human and refuse to do so, I believe we are sinfully missing the purpose of our being in that place and moment.
Genie’s power was not for himself. It was for the one who rubbed the lamp. He was to wait until the wisher came along, and then grant the wisher’s requests.
What Genie wanted was freedom. That is how that story went. Up until meeting Aladdin, after Genie had granted a person’s wishes, he had to shrink back into the bottle again.
So he asks Aladdin to use one of his wishes to ask for his own freedom, and Aladdin eventually does so. Isn’t that a beautiful analogy to our salvation? Once we are freed from the confinements of our sin and mortal flesh, we don’t ever have to be trapped again. And we are able to walk in power to free others. This is God’s wish.
Pretty good deal for some clods of dirt.