Room for the Impossible

It never ceases to amaze me how words written a hundred years ago can be so timely for us today!  Oswald Chambers died in 1917, at the age of forty-three, yet his words ring true in 2015!

Here is an excerpt from his Devotional Bible:

Jesus is not in the sitting by the tomb; He is not in the bitter tears; He is not in the sad communings.  The place where we will find Jesus is just where common sense says it is impossible to find Him.  It was no use for the disciples to imagine they were going to have a recurrence of those three years; it was impossible to recall the thrilling yesterdays; it was impossible for the two on the way to Emmaus to have a return of the fellowship they yearned for; but there was something infinitely better for them.  “For He is risen, as He said.” Impossibility had wedded itself to what Jesus had said.  The proclamation of the impossible springs from the supernatural, not from common sense.  The supernatural figures largely all through the life of our Lord.  At His birth the angels proclaimed that He should be called Jesus “for He will save His people from their sins.”  We shall not think of our Lord as a savior if we look at Him in the light of our own minds, because no natural man imagines he needs to be saved.  Do we make room in our faith for the impossible along the line of the supernatural?  Or have we reduced our religion to such common sense platitudes that there is no need for Jesus to have lived at all?

It’s deep, but it’s worth reading several times to get it!  Beyond Common Sense–this was one of the devotionals that prompted the new name.  Can we really live this way?  Can we expect God to do the impossible?  Jesus reminds his disciples in John 14:12 that their works would exceed His works in greatness: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And Matthew Henry has this to say about the passage.  Again, it may be deep, but it’s worth the digging.!

That they should do greater works than these. In the kingdom of nature they should work greater miracles. No miracle is little, but some to our apprehension seem greater than others. Christ had healed with the hem of his garment, but Peter with his shadow (Acts 5:15), Paul by the handkerchief that had touched him, Acts 19:12. Christ wrought miracles for two or three years in one country, but his followers wrought miracles in his name for many ages in divers countries. You shall do greater works, if there be occasion, for the glory of God. Theprayer of faith, if at any time it had been necessary, would have removed mountains. [2.] In the kingdom of grace. They should obtain greater victories by the gospel than had been obtained while Christ was upon earth. The truth is, the captivating of so great a part of the world to Christ, under such outward disadvantages, was the miracle of all. I think this refers especially to the gift of tongues;this was the immediate effect of the pouring out of the Spirit, which was a constant miracle upon the mind, in which words are framed, and which was made to serve so glorious an intention as that of spreading the gospel to all nations in their own language. This was a greater sign to them that believed not (1 Co. 14:22), and more powerful for their conviction, than any other miracle whatever.

Show this world the impossible: a life totally committed to Jesus Christ!  You will shine brightly in this dark, sin-cursed world which seems to deny its Maker more and more every year!  And remember: God is just  as faithful in 2015 as He was in the 1600s and 1900s!

The God of the Impossibe

Exodus 4:2-4

And the LORD said unto him, “What is that in thine hand?

And he said, “A rod.”

And he said, “Cast it on the ground.”

And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

And the LORD said unto Moses, “Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.

And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand

Do you serve the God of the Impossible?  I love this little slice of reality in Moses’ life.  Even though Cecil B. Demille makes it look as though the burning bush incident happened only a short time after he left Egypt, it was forty years later. The actual time line of Moses’ life falls into forties: forty years in Egypt, forty years in Midian, and forty years in the wilderness leading the Israelites.

God has just spoken to Moses of His mission, and Moses is telling God all the reasons why it won’t work! This is the first of two signs that God gives Moses to convince the Israelites that he is God’s man.

Do you like snakes?  Would you like to pick one up…by the tail?  Anyone who handles snakes knows that you don’t pick up a snake by the tail! Actually, common sense would tell you not to pick up a snake by its tail.  It’s sort of like grabbing a cat by the tail, except the results could be deadly! We don’t know what kind of snake it was, but whatever the type, Moses ran from it.

However, there is no break in the action: God tells him to pick up the snake by the tail and Moses does it. Faith: Forsaking All, I Trust Him!  Forsaking all commons sense, I do what He commands.

What is the impossible thing in your life?  Impossible things can be personal struggles with bad habits or sins; or, they can involve someone else, whose actions are affecting your life. Circumstances involving finances, relationships, attitudes, wrong choices: they all can create impossible situations in our lives, and we come to God begging Him to do SOMETHING!

But first, perhaps He is asking you, “What is in thy hand?”  What is it that you are clutching so tightly that God wants to use to do the impossible?  You see, if you are in control, then God is not.  He wants to do the impossible, but so often, we must hand over the reins before He can do it.

It may be so impossible, that you only laugh, like Sarah: having a child at the age of ninety? IMPOSSIBLE!  Can you believe God for the impossible?  Can you allow Him to teach you through the impossible? Will you hand EVERYTHING over to Him so that He can do the impossible?  Are you willing to wait for Him to do the impossible on His timeline and not yours? You can be guaranteed that any great accomplishment for God started with an impossible idea. Never think that God cannot do it.  If it is HIS will, it can be done!

Later, Moses will stand at the Red Sea and say, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”  (Exodus 14:13) It’s always a great joy when God just does the impossible.  They stood and watched as God parted the Red Sea.  OOOh! Ahhh! Wow!  Isn’t God awesome!  He’s doing the impossible!

Sometimes though, He asks a price to do the impossible, as perhaps you read in “Wet Feet.”  Will you do it? WARNING: it will cost you something.  Think about Moses, reaching out his hand, keeping an eye on that serpent’s fangs dripping with venom; and yet he trusted God to do the impossible, so that when he stood before the people and he stood before Pharaoh, he was ready once again to trust the God of the Impossible

Wet Feet

  And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.Exodus 14:21

Most believers are familiar with the Biblical account which records God’s parting of the Red Sea, even though Hollywood and many children’s books may not get everything quite accurate. What a wonderful example of the power of God! No wonder the world has a hard time believing that it really happened!

A less familiar story is found at the end of their wanderings, preceding their entrance into the Promised Land:

 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap…Joshua 3:15,16

 Picture it: The Israelites have completed their forty-year wilderness wandering and are now standing at the Jordan River’s edge.  Jericho has been scouted out, and they are ready to enter into the Promised Land!  Again, a body of waters stands in their way until it too parts, but there is a slight difference:  Certainly, it was the power of God that parted the waters and created a dry base for nearly three million people to pass over; however, the water never moved until the priests’ feet dipped into the water.

The following passage tells us a little more about this crossing:

The river was thus dried up as far as the eye could reach. This was a stupendous miracle; Jordan takes its name, “the Descender,” from the force of its current, which, after passing the Sea of Galilee, becomes greatly increased as it plunges through twenty-seven “horrible rapids and cascades,” besides a great many lesser through a fall of a thousand feet, averaging from four to five miles an hour [LYNCH].  When swollen “in time of harvest,” it flows with a vastly accelerated current. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown) Commentary

We don’t know exactly where this crossing took place, but we see that the Jordan was “overflowing its banks.”  This generation of wanderers had only heard about the Red Sea parting, now it is their turn!  Do you see the big difference in the two partings? Wet feet!  The people just stood and watched in awe as the Red Sea parted before them, but this time, twelve men got to really test the waters!  These twelve priests were the leaders of their tribes.  They were leading their families, and they were taking a step of faith.

That’s the difference between entering the wilderness and entering the Promised Land: a step of faith.  How often we stay in the wilderness because we are afraid to take that step of faith!  We are God’s children; we have trusted Him for our salvation; we believe in Him and what He’s done, but we can’t trust Him for tomorrow’s unknown! 

Here’s another lesson for me through this trying time.  Just to recap if you haven’t been following my husband’s accident: Wednesday, he fell twelve feet to concrete when his ladder slid, breaking his hip and crushing his heel.  Thursday, surgery. Monday, we’re told three things: He was going to the in-hospital rehab (yippy!  No transportation!); He was going home (well, transportation but he’d be home); He would just stay in the Joint Center (I’ll pick door number three!) We were really fine with all three, but door number two was the final answer.  We prayed that we would know what was best, and that we wouldn’t have to make the decision (we haven’t worked much with hospitals!).  By eight-thirty on Tuesday morning, we had our answer; however, we were also told that we would have to be at the doctor’s office the following morning at eight-fifteen!

I panicked.  My mind raced back to those trips home from the hospital following my three C-sections–not pleasant!  The thought of reversing the process and taking him out again the next day nearly pushed me over the edge.  Then I remembered this blog (that I’ve been trying to finish for five days!) Why don’t you try trusting God, Wanda! Take a step of faith!  Maybe He knows what is best! Ouch!  Guess what–He did, and does and always will, if only we would step into the water!!!  Why is it so hard to trust Him?  Because all we see is that raging river swirling out of control just inches from where we are standing!  There is no way He can _________ ( you fill in the blank).  He may not solve your problems the way you would like Him to do it, but if you are willing to follow Him, He will ALWAYS do what is best!

Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.

Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.

John H Stockton

Why is it that we can trust Him for the next life, but not for this one?

God of the Impossible

Our local school district has been in the throes of the difficult decision of closing a school.  Although we are a small district in population, we are large in acreage and local pride. At present, there are three high schools and three elementary schools: two sets are located in the northern, more populated area of the district, and then there is Liberty High School and Elementary in the south.LHS1_000

The district’s future goal is to have only one high school; so, it was decided that Liberty High would close.  The past few weeks have been so difficult.  As a substitute teacher, I’ve been in all six schools and am proud to say that every school has a fine faculty of teachers; although, as I sit and have lunch with the Liberty teachers, the foreboding of the pending close has dampened everyone’s spirit.  It’s as though a family is being torn apart, and in some ways, that’s exactly what is happening.

Then, out of nowhere came the news that the state has no money to pay for all the refurbishing plans and will not have it for three years!  All of a sudden, everything changed; and even though the final decisions have not been made, there is now a glimmer of hope for this community that they may not lose their school.

Last night, as I sat listening to the band concert, which included any alumni or community folks who wanted to join, I couldn’t help but wonder at the mighty hand of God. It’s been a sort of “David and Goliath” story – the two northern schools naturally outnumber little Liberty.  It seemed like an impossible situation; but then God assured us once again that He knows exactly what is going on, and can do the impossible!

There’s nothing that strengthens our faith more than when God does the impossible.  All seems hopeless, and then God enters into the picture!  Look at how many times this is true in the Bible: Joseph – God sends Pharaoh a dream; Moses – God parts the Red Sea; Joshua – and the walls came tumbling down!

Even in modern times, we hear of God doing the impossible.  The Miracle Evacuation at Dunkirk during World War II was certainly miraculous because of the heart-courage demonstrated by hundreds of boatmen who sailed their vessels across the English channel to save over 300,000 soldiers; but it was the hand of God that rolled in the unusual fog that covered the beaches that night! And on 9/11, how many lives were spared because circumstances suddenly changed, putting persons in other places than in the World Trade Center?

Do you see the hand of God in your life?  So often, I don’t believe that it is a lack of God’s working as much as it is a lack of our looking for it!  Take a moment and listen to the psalmist’s advice: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10  What could be more important? And remember, it was not in the earthquake or strong wind or fire that Elijah heard God, but in the still small voice! (1 Kings 19:12)