Itaipu Dam, on a stretch of the Paraná River that forms the boundary between Brazil and Paraguay, is the world’s largest operational hydroelectric power plant. In 1995, a decade after it opened, the U.S. magazine Popular Mechanics listed it as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. By 2000 it was generating over 90 billion kilowatt-hours of power each year, enough to supply 93% of the electrical power consumed by Paraguay’s 5.5 million people and 20% of that consumed by Brazil’s 184 million. That’s a lot of power! The river flowed there for thousands of years before the dam, of course, which means that the potential for all that power was also there, untapped, until someone set out to harness it.
The spiritual power that God makes available to us can be likened to that river: There is tremendous potential there, but it doesn’t do us any good until we acknowledge its existence, recognize its potential, and learn to use it. If we’ve gone all of our lives without that spiritual power, and if we’ve managed okay and been relatively happy, maybe things will work out fine if we continue as we have. Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. But we would never know what we would be missing, and we would be missing a lot!
Itaipu Dam wasn’t the first of its kind, of course. Those who conceived and built it benefited from the knowledge and experience of many others, going all the way back to the first paddle wheel. Again, God’s power is a bit like that. Men and women before us have learned how to draw on God’s power, and we can benefit from and build on their knowledge and experience.