All Things Possible
[Jesus] said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Jesus had just had an encounter with a rich man whose possessions and wealth were more important to him than experiencing God’s love. As the man walked away, Jesus commented to His followers, “It’s hard for rich people to enter the kingdom”(Luke 18:24). His followers were shocked. Rich people had more time to pray, more resources to spend on religious rituals, and more of everything that seemed good in the world. They were highly respected. The confused disciples asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”(Luke 18:26).
Jesus changed the direction of the conversation. A changed heart, Jesus explained is God’s business. Wealth or poverty, health or sickness, academic brilliance or down-home simplicity- none of that matters. All theses things can be roadblocks to a person’s trusting in God, but God can easily overcome any obstacle.
Some of us need to hear Jesus’ message again today. We’ve been praying for someone for years, and to be honest, we don’t see any progress. Welding for this person to come to Christ, to experience forgiveness and find peace and hope and joy. Every overture we’ve offered has been ignored or rebuffed, and we’re close to giving up. Jesus is encouraging us, “Don’t stop believing. It may look impossible, but all things are possible with God. Keep praying, keep believing, and keep watching for Me to work in this person’s life.”
I’m so optimistic, I’d go after Moby Dick in a rowboat and take tartar sauce.
As we read the story of Abraham and Sarah, as God is promising them that they will have a son, we learn that nothing can limit God in bringing to pass His promises. Earlier God had given them the promise of a son but now time had passed and they were old and naturally beyond childbearing years. God visits them in their older years and renews His promise and this time it’s specific. He tells them that by next year Sarah will give birth to a son. Sarah laughs to herself thinking that what God has said is impossible. She reasons that because it’s physically impossible that it’s also impossible with God. That is flawed reasoning but far too often it’s our reasoning as well. As long as we can see some way that something can happen we might have faith but as soon as it crosses the line of reasonable possibility, we place it into the land of impossible dreams. It wasn’t that Abraham and Sarah weren’t aware of their condition that made giving birth impossible for Hebrews says that they were aware of the deadness of Sarah’s womb. In this encounter before Isaac is born, God speaks to them and us a powerful question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” How we choose to answer this question is defined by our relationship with God and understanding something of His character. The Bible says that God is not a man that He should lie and that it is impossible for Him to do so. I realize that many of the promises of God are far beyond our capacity to comprehend but our faith is not so much in the promises as they are in the One who promised. When we learn to trust God because we have truly come to know Him, believing His promises aren’t so difficult, not because they aren’t way outside our box but because we know our God.
Our faith and confidence in God doesn’t require that we always know the outcome. Consider the three Hebrew boys standing before the furnace, facing its flames and possibly its death. Given an opportunity to bow rather than burn, they answer the king this way, “Our God is able to deliver us from the fire, but if He chooses not to do so, we still won’t bow to these other gods.” So they were cast into the fire but weren’t burned. Such an impossibility occurred that the king declared that their God was the One to be worshipped by the whole nation.
But let’s talk about us and our time in which we live. Have we come to the place where we no longer believe in the greatness of God and His power to do the impossible? Do we think that all of creation we see just happened by chance? Do we think that somehow He has left us to figure it all out and to make it happen? Does He no longer work miracles? As the disciples heard Jesus say, It’s hard for rich people to enter the kingdom,” they heard “it’s impossible.” Just because it may be hard doesn’t make it impossible. While it may be beyond our power and ability, it’s never beyond God’s. This is where we need to come in our faith. There may be those in your life who don’t yet know Christ and right now it doesn’t look as if they ever will. Maybe the more you witness to them the more they draw away. Maybe you’ve given up an no longer even pray for their salvation. But remember that at one time you were an impossibility. Before you came to Christ there were those who may have considered you too hard to persuade. Many of us are testimony to the power of God that can change a heart.
This is the time to hear again the words of Jesus who said that while it may be impossible with man, all things are possible with God if we will just believe. This is no time for the church to look at the world around them and say that there’s no interest, they’re not interested in our programs, they’re too busy and occupied with the world, and they are too deep into worldly things to have time for the things of God. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? The darker the world gets, the more we must learn to have faith in God. There is a paradox, Paul says; Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. And if that is true, and it is then we are being given access to more of God’s power and grace than any previous generation. We may feel like Abraham and Sarah that things have gone too long and too far, but all we need is another visit with God to be reminded that nothing is to hard for Him. I want to encourage us today to draw from the well of faith. I want us to know that our resources and capabilities don’t need to be great. The songwriter said, “Little is much when God is in it.” If you and I will bring our little to God in faith, we just might be surprised with the results. Abraham and Sarah were!
Dr. John Thompson