Elmer L. Jorgenson (1886-1968)

(From the January 1916 Word & Work Magazine)

I believe in a God who can—and does. Most people, including many Christians, have a God that used to do things indeed, and no doubt will bestir himself again in the distant future; but at present He is doing nothing to speak of. It is so easy to believe that God did things in Bible times; that He will do things again in predicted seasons; but for the present He is bound hand and foot by natural law, and there is nothing stirring. I believe in a God who not only used to do things and will do things again, but who is doing things now. For all that some folks say, He might as well be an idol, a tree cut out of the forest which cannot speak and which cannot go; in whom it is not to do evil nor yet to do good. (Jer: 10:3-5).

     There are  hosts of folks, settled on their lees, that say in their heart, “Jehovah will not do good, nor will he do evil.” (Zeph. 1:12); that is, He will not do anything at all, one way or the other. Therefore there is no prayer. “The days of. mjracles are past” forsooth; so then why pray?

     The days of miracles may be past but God goes on to work wonders. He is the same yesterday, today— and tomorrow too. He who turned water into wine in a second, continues to turn water into wine in a season; He who multiplied food in a moment, is still multiplying food in the months from seed-time to harvest. Add the time-element to the miraculous and you have what, because of regular recurrence, we call the natural. But both are really super-natural.

     On one occasion Paul said, “I believe God;” and I remember when a friend of mine said to me of J. A. Harding, “My father believes in God.” And if I may set my insignificant name beside two names so illustrious, permit me to say, I too believe in God, —God help mine unbelief. When the spies of old returned from Canaan ten of them said, “The land floweth with milk and honey; howbeit the people that dwell in the land are strong. . . . We are not able to go up;” but Caleb said, “We are well able.” The difference was simply a difference of faith. Caleb had a God that was able, and it is something to make your blood tingle to read how this same Caleb, later, when the land was divided, asked for the mountain where the Anakim dwelt (for he believed in asking big things), and drove out the very giants that combined Israel was afraid to meet.

     Daniel’s three friends believed in a God who was “able to deliver” them from the burning fiery furnace; and deliver them He did. Daniel himself had the same sort of God. When Darius asked at the den, “Is thy God whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” Daniel answered triumphantly, “My God hath sent his angel.”  No hurt was found upon him “because he had trusted in his God.” This God who did things of old, who will yet arise to shake the earth is able to do some few things in these days too—let us believe His good words for it and these are some of them:

     WHAT G0D Can Do

  1. God is able to perform what he has promised. Rom. 4:21. When therefore we repeat God’s promises after him—for the best prayer is just that—we may do so in the confidence that he will answer; not only that he can but that he will. Yea, we may let our requests be made known unto God—with thanksgiving; thanksgiving in advance for the very thing requested, confident that it is coming.
  2. God is able to answer prayer,—and more too. Eph. 3:20. To say that God will answer prayer is perhaps more than to say that he will keep his promises. There is the prayer for a specific thing based on God’s specific promise; but there is the prayer also for the thing which is not specifically promised, based on God’s character. The Bible abounds in examples of answered prayer of both sorts. In the passage cited, the Apostle, at the risk of redundancy (so many adverbs does he use) tells us that God is able to do all that we ask; all that we think, yea above that; abundantly above that; exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.


  1. God is able to guard us from stumbling. Jude 24. Therefore sin is inexcusable. God is able—and more than willing, to lead every defeated Christian out of failure into triumph and give him regular, continued, and sustained victory over self, sin, and Satan . He longs to set us free from known sin now, and in the resurrection to make us sinlessly perfect, that he may set us before the presence of his glory “without blemish.”
  2. God is able to guard that which we have committed unto him against that day. 2 Tim. 1:12. My soul ,my self, my all have I committed unto him and he is keeping all—at least so I long to have it. And if he is not keeping your deposit likewise, it is just because you have not committed it to him. A certain bank keeps my cash. A certain other bank does not. Not that it could not; I think it has the necessary vaults and guards. But just because l have not committed my cash to it. “He is able to guard,” yes bless his holy name, but say, have you made your deposit ?


E.L. Jorgenson was editor of the Word & Work magazine from 1956 to 1962.  He was a well sought after minister of the Gospel.