“what can God do?” vs. “what God can do.”

Probably my favorite part about my Facebook feed is the Memories feature. Especially with kids, it is amazing to see how things have changed over the years. Am I really getting that old?

Today, this was my memory:

4 years ago on this day, it was my last day as a staff member at Willow Creek Community Church.

4 YEARS! What the heck. It only seems like yesterday… and as we all know how time can be, it feels like another life.

If I take myself back to the spring and summer of 2014, stepping away from Willow Creek was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life… leaning into Christ for what He was trying to tell me. He had been attempting to get my attention for some time, but I had been unwilling to listen to that still small voice.

Leading up to this time, I thought I had everything figured out… I know how God wanted to use me and the method by which He was going to do that. In reality, my life for the last four years since then proves that God has a higher plan for all of us, one that we cannot see or comprehend.

There is nothing like having a front-row seat to watching God work and move in people’s lives, and when I think about not having the opportunity to have that front row seat at FILO, it is scary to think about what life would have looked like had I not taken a step towards Him and a step away from my own master plan.

My big ideas for me and my life and God’s big idea for me and my life couldn’t have been more different. At the beginning of my process, I couldn’t imagine how God could use me if I wasn’t the Technical Arts Director at Willow Creek Church.

The question God asked me over and over again was:

“Do you trust me? Do you trust that I can do more than you can ask or imagine?”

My answer was pretty emphatic:

“No, I don’t trust you!” (I think I might have even thought “Are you nuts?!”)

I’m not proud of my response, I was just being honest. It took me a while to come around to putting my trust in God’s ability. For me, I thought my plan was pretty amazing. Really, what can God do that isn’t already happening?

It turns out that I spend a lot of my life subconsciously asking this question all the time… ignorant of how much I’m limiting what God can do and wants to do in my life.

When I finally came around to taking a step of faith and trusting God for my future, things changed from “What could God possibly do?” to simply “What God can do.”

One of the traditions in the Willow Creek Production Department is that when someone is leaving staff, we would all eat at this restaurant called The Texan.  (Even if someone wasn’t leaving, if someone suggested The Texan, you had to wonder if there was something you didn’t know about…)

Anyway, my going-away party was at The Texan and there were a ton of tables set up for our group. I remember thinking that there was no way we’re going to have that many people here for this. Well, by the end we had to add more tables to fit everyone.

There was a moment in that lunch where God showed up for me. I remembered a similar goodbye party for me when I left Michigan to take a job at Willow Creek. That group was about 1/3 the size of the group gathered there that day. When I left Michigan, I couldn’t imagine what God had in mind for my life at Willow Creek.

Sitting at the table with that in mind, the impression I had from God was:

Because you chose to trust me to leave Michigan, look what I’ve done.”

And then:

“Because you’ve trusted Me to leave your job at Willow Creek, watch what I do next.”

FILO wasn’t even a thing back then, it was just a faint idea.

Without question, God has shown up in huge ways since the day I decided to trust Him and step away from my job. He has been more than worthy of my trust.

What are the ways that you are subconsciously living in your own plan?

Are you asking the question “What could God possibly do?”

Or are you making the statement: “What God can do.”?

Picture of Todd Elliott

Todd Elliott

Todd is a writer, speaker, technical artist in the local church and founder of FILO.

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MAY 6-7, 2025