Go Vertical with the Impossible
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:23-26).
"With God, all things are possible." That is a bold statement from our Lord! Paul makes a similar one in Philippians 4:13 when he writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Is that true? Are ALL things really possible with God? Can we do all things through Jesus?
The answer is yes—and no. Scripture says some things are NOT possible. It is not possible for God to get tired. He cannot lose His holiness. He cannot break a promise. Isaiah says that God cannot remember sins he has chosen to forget. God says He cannot abandon His people. He cannot stop loving us (Jeremiah 31.3). Titus 1:2 tells us that God cannot lie.
God is always Himself
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot change. And for Him to change means that He is not God. God is God. He cannot be “not-God.” So, when we say God can do anything or that “everything is possible with God” what we mean is that everything is possible with God that is possible. And when we say that we can do all things through Christ, we are talking about all the things we can now do because we are IN CHRIST.
For example, we can face this pandemic. We can live in God’s promises and strength. We can be conduits for his grace, love, and peace. But “all things” does not mean all things imaginable. We cannot travel through time or jump off a cliff and fly. We cannot shoot fire from our fingertips. But, we can do all things through Christ that God allows. God is sovereign and in control. And there are some things God will not allow us to do. Make sense?
Jesus: Our power source
In and of ourselves, many of these possibilities are not possible. When Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into heaven,” he is not saying it is difficult. He is saying it is impossible. That’s His point. Camels cannot pass through needles’ eyes. Period.
And that is why the disciples cry out, “Then who can be saved?!” And the answer is: no one. No one can be saved… unless—unless that which is not possible for man is made possible by God.
When Paul says that he can do all things through Christ, he is saying that he can now do things that previously, on his own, he could not do. But now that he is in partnership with Jesus, these things are possible. Jesus makes possible for Paul what was not possible for him alone.
The God of impossible possibilities
How sad then that we so often pray prayers that are too small, too narrow, too possible. Karl Barth, a pretty smart thinker when it comes to the things of God, once said that God is “the God of impossible-possibilities.” We should think about that when we pray. When we pray exclusively within the realm of possibility, we put limits on the power of prayer and the power of God. We pray shallow, possible prayers because we are too afraid to ask for the impossible. We often pray for petty, temporary things instead of praying bold, risky, impossible prayers.
Courage to pray the impossible
Prayer is risky business. We are not testing God's power; we are testing our faith! Do we have the courage to trust in and rely on God’s power instead of our own?
· Do you have an adult child who has left the church? PRAY! · Do you know someone whose doctor has said, “We’ve done all we can do”? PRAY! · Do you know someone whose bad choices are ruining their life; who refuse to listen to sound advice? PRAY! · Do you feel lonely, hopeless, or depressed about the uncertainty of our culture’s future? Pray!
Prayer dares to call the impossible into reality. Prayer trusts the One who does impossible things. Church, our faith is rooted—founded—on a human being who was crucified and entombed; but no longer. He is the risen Savior! His resurrection proves that He is so much more than merely human.
Jesus turned biscuits and fish for one into a banquet for thousands. He is the endless supply of living water and the bread of life. As His followers, we trust that only in Christ Jesus does the impossible becomes possible.
When God says ‘No’
But what about those times when our requests do not come to pass? What then? Church family, prayer is not empowered by our words! The power comes from the One to whom we speak. If we do not receive the impossible, it is not because we did not say the right words or because we do not have adequate faith. People of God ask in great faith! But we accept when God simply says ‘no.’ He has that right… because He is God.
We ask for something impossible. But we cannot see all the reasons why we should not receive what we ask for. We cannot know the things God has hidden from us in the depths of his wisdom. God is not obligated to tell us how He makes decisions. And for us to speculate about God’s methods is not helpful. Let’s not second-guess God!
Seeing the Big Picture
Here’s the good news. At the Last Day, God has promised to put everything right—to make all things new—to restore everything to a state of perfection. And so, in the big picture, today’s ‘no’ is a temporary ‘no’ to God’s eternal ‘yes’.
Today’s ‘no’ may result in a death. But we know that death does not get the last word. We are people of the resurrection! And the final word on everything belongs to God alone.
Dare to Pray the Impossible
As you and I live in the world today, may we pray expectantly, daring to ask God for the impossible. May we pray for the salvation of the whole world—that everyone will be convicted of their sins, will repent, and that they will find redemption, healing, forgiveness, and rest in in the blood of Jesus. This is what the world needs, so let’s ask for it!
Praying the impossible will transform us. It will change how we see God. Praying the impossible shows others that the God we serve is powerful, in charge, loving and kind. And as Paul told us in Philippians 4, praying this way will bring us peace—peace that trusts God can do what we cannot.
May we dare to pray the impossible. We love and serve a God who makes a way where there is no way. He is the God of impossible possibilities.
"For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
Disclaimer: I did not write this article, only edited it. It was previously saved on my computer. I failed to cite the source when I saved it and a Google search has not found the author's name. My apologies. --Jim