Do I deserve a God who does the impossible? (#58)

If I worship a God who is able to do things that are utterly impossible by any human measure, why does my life reflect so little that requires a God who can do the impossible? Another way of saying this might be, “In my life do I desperately need a God who can do for me what seems to be impossible or is His power to do the impossible wasted on me because all I need is a God to help me with what is entirely possible?”

Let’s begin by saying that the Christian worships a God who has proven conclusively that He does the impossible. The Scriptures are full of the Lord’s words and deeds that demonstrate His ability to do those things that seem to be utterly impossible and are impossible for humans to accomplish. There are many miracles in the Bible and every one of them presents an occurrence where God does what is humanly impossible.

Examples of this abound. The Lord parted the Red Sea so that the children of Israel could cross on dry ground (Exodus 14). Later He stopped the Jordan River so that Israel could cross into the Promised Land (Joshua 3). Twice God brought water out of the rock (Exodus 17; Number 20). In answer to Elijah’s prayer, the LORD sent fire down from heaven to burn up the sacrifice (1 Kings 18). The LORD made the sun stand still for a whole day during one of Israel’s battles (Joshua 10). There are many other examples of God doing the impossible in nature, but God also does the impossible with people. Both Elijah and Elisha, two of Israel’s great prophets, saw the Lord raise children from the dead (1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4). The LORD is a God who does the impossible. In Isaiah 7:14 the Scriptures declare that “a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel. “ Thus is predicted the impossible, the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. A virgin birth is impossible, but the impossible nevertheless came to pass as God brought His Son into the world through the womb of a virgin. God has proven that He can do what is humanly impossible.

Not only does the LORD demonstrate in His mighty acts, but He also DECLARES in His word that He can do the “impossible.” In Jeremiah 32:17 the prophet testifies to the Lord that, “Nothing is too difficult for You!” The LORD gives Ahaz an opportunity to ask Him for a sign. “Make the sign as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven (Isaiah 7:11).” In other words, “Ahaz, you can ask Me for anything and I can do it.” There is no request that would be too difficult for the LORD to fulfill. God does the impossible. Repeatedly in the Old Testament God’s people cry out to Him to answer them and rescue them and in virtually every occurrence the LORD answers with something that is humanly impossible. God declares to His people that He can do those things that seem impossible.

When Jesus Christ, God the Son, comes into the world, the impossible becomes routine, when almost every recorded act of Jesus’ earthly ministry was a miracle beyond human ability. It is impossible to raise those who are physically dead, but Jesus does this several times in His ministry including raising Lazarus, who had been dead four days. It is impossible to give sight to one blind from birth, but Jesus does exactly this in John 9. Giving a paralytic the ability to walk by speaking a word is impossible, but Jesus tells the paralytic in Mark 2 to take up his pallet and go home, and that is what happens. Jesus responded to every request with a confident willingness to go and heal, even when the request was humanly impossible. How could He respond this way? He could respond this way because there was nothing impossible for the Son of God. If He was willing, it would be so (Matthew 8:2-3). With regard to nature, Jesus repeatedly showed that He was Lord of nature. He spoke to a raging hurricane in the middle of the Sea of Galilee: “Hush! Be still!” The winds and the waves heard the voice of their maker and they obeyed and there was a great and instant calm (Mark 4:35-41). When a huge crowd of over 5,000 people needed to be fed Jesus took five small loaves and two fish and fed them all with twelve baskets left over. As God Incarnate, Jesus did the impossible.

The most impossible thing that God has done (if there is such a thing as “most impossible”) is to raise Jesus Christ from the dead. During His earthly ministry Jesus repeatedly predicted His death and His resurrection. His predictions of His manner of death are very clear and unambiguous. His foretelling of His resurrection from the dead could not have been clearer. Jesus was going to Jerusalem and He was going to be killed, and on the third day He was going to rise from the dead. Impossible! Insane! No way! This was the topper of all the toppers, as they say. There is no way that the Son of God is going to be killed on a cross, but there is certainly no possibility of anyone rising from the dead. Resurrection is not a possibility. Even His disciples could not understand what He was saying because what he was predicting was completely outside their wildest imagination. Crucifixion? Resurrection? Impossible! Both are impossible! Nevertheless this is exactly what happened. The impossible became reality as the Son of God died on Calvary’s cross and on the third day the empty tomb attested to the Resurrection. Jesus Christ had accomplished the impossible. The point is that God has demonstrated over and over again that He is a God for whom there is no impossibility. “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3).”

The final indicator of God’s infinite ability is the things that He has done in your life and in my life which proves that there is nothing impossible for Him. Just two personal examples from my own life will make the point. In late 2008 I needed a job, but the economy was heading south and I had no real prospects for work. I was in a new city and had been out of work for more than a year. Employment for me seemed humanly impossible, but through an amazing series of divine providences, the Lord gave me a job and has allowed me to keep that job for more than six years. Another example happened before I married Lisa. She was a widow with three kids and I was a bachelor of modest means. As I realized how much it cost to support a family of five, I told Lisa, “I can’t afford this family. This is just impossible.” The numbers did not add up. There was no way that I could support this family. Now nine years later we are still doing fine and I still wonder every month how the Lord sustains us. But I need to remember that our God is a God who does the impossible.

Why am I making such a big deal out of this? Why am I talking so much about God’s ability “to do exceedingly abundantly, beyond all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)”? Why am I going on and on about God routinely doing what seems to be impossible? After all, most Christians are pretty convinced that there is nothing that God cannot do and that there is nothing that is too difficult for Him. If they were quizzed, most believers would say that, yes, it is true that there is nothing impossible for the Lord. I would make those same statements without hesitation. But then as I examine myself, the question emerges, “Roy, if you really believe that your God is all-powerful and that there is nothing impossible for Him, why is there so little evidence in your life of a need for the impossible to be done?” Do I take risks in my life for God’s glory that require the intervention and the assistance of a God who can do the impossible? Does my belief and trust in an all-powerful God who can do what seems to be impossible manifest itself in bold risks for the Kingdom of God which require that God actually does the impossible or I suffer loss? Maybe another way of asking the question is to say, “Does the fact that God can do the impossible matter in my life?” Do I require a God who can do what is impossible for me to do without Him, or do I just need a God who can help me do what is entirely within the realm of the possible and would probably get done whether He showed up or not? Is there anything in my plans, hopes, prayers and dreams that if it comes to pass, would require people to say, “God did that”? In other words, I believe in a God who can do the impossible, but do I need a God who can do the impossible?

Do you? Does your life testify to the fact that you believe in the God who will do the impossible for YOU if you ask Him and trust Him? I need to accept the challenge to live my life as a man who believes that God can do “exceeding abundantly beyond all that I ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).” I offer you that challenge as well.

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