“Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and it is getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy themselves some food.’ But Jesus said, ‘You feed them.’ ‘With what?’ they asked. ‘It would take a small fortune to by food for all this crowd!’ ” Mark 6:35-37 New Living Translation
What makes something impossible? How is an action, an opportunity, a goal, determined to be an impossibility? Throughout the ages, centuries, and decades things once thought absolutely impossible have happened, and many of them have been witnessed by the world.
Horseless Carriages were just a passing phase, many thought they would never catch on, they were too unreliable. Better to stick with the horse, transportation you can rely on with no doubt. Sending voices over electrical wires? Have you lost your mind? You want one of those weird boxes in your home? You have no idea what that might do to your brain, or how it might impact your children, especially that newfangled electricity stuff! You get the idea, generation after generation has taken what was once believed impossible and pushed those boundaries beyond anything dreamed within the realms of possibility.
In nearly every aspect of our lives, what was once impossible is now common place. Cell phones are a perfect example! I remember watching the original Star Trek and being fascinated by the communicators, they were so cool. The transporter was just as entrancing, push some levers and whoosh you were somewhere else (really great for those of us who are not excited about heights). Consider the advances in radiology, medicine, agriculture, and the list goes on and on and on. Every day whether we know it or not, whether we are aware it is happening, the impossible is being made possible, it is becoming a reality!
Rewind about 2000 years and move east around our planet to arrive in an area we call the Middle East. It is and has been the center of power struggles for centuries. Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Hittites fighting to control this land coveted by them all. And then it was the Roman’s who controlled what had become known to them as Palestine, a land they truly hated. It was a land filled with anti-Roman zealots who, at every opportunity, killed as many Roman soldiers as possible. The Middle East was the last place in the Roman Empire you wanted to be assigned.
As if the zealots weren’t trouble enough, every time a Governor turned around he faced another of the wretched Messiahs the Jews were always harping about. The Messiah was some Priest/Warrior who was going to destroy all the enemies of the Jews and set the Jews to rule over the entire world. And every time another one of these Messiahs announced himself there were riots, civil unrest, and the people were stirred up again and had to be taken in hand. And these phony would be saviors had to be destroyed, nipped in the bud before they really caused harm.
Into all of this stepped Jesus, a carpenter who grew up in Nazareth working with his father. A quiet enough son, there was something different about him. And if Mary and Joseph knew what the difference was, they weren’t talking. There was that incident at the Temple that was just a little unsettling, the one time where Jesus disappeared for three days. His parents found him in deep conversation with the priests, rabbis, and scholars, amazing them with his knowledge of the Jewish scriptures. When Jesus was confronted by Joseph and Mary, all he had to say was, “Shouldn’t I be about my Father’s business?” What did he mean by that when every one knew his father was a carpenter?
2000 years ago it was impossible for any girl, let alone a peasant girl, to become pregnant without having a physical relationship with a man. Yet it happened. The very idea of God becoming human seems impossible to me, yet it happened. The Truth that God as Jesus took complete separation from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, a separation that was ours was impossible, however it happened!
I wonder how many times I have missed something amazing because I allowed impossible to dictate what I believed could happen. What have I missed because of my belief that if I was involved, the impossible odds would multiply dramatically?
Jesus gave the disciples the opportunity to go beyond what was. He invited them into what might happen, what could be if the shackles of impossibility were removed. The same chains telling us what is and isn’t possible. Just like I would, the disciples went right to the obvious, “WE don’t have enough money!” Over and over I get caught in the not enough excuse for not believing, not trusting, not doing.
Isn’t it interesting Jesus didn’t ask them if they had any money? He told them to feed the people. A fairly straight forward request. Without even a moment to consider what Jesus had placed before them, the disciples rejected the possibility They didn’t ask how, they didn’t ask for help, they didn’t ask Jesus to show them how. Since it was impossible, it was completely rejected.
As I write this I’m almost afraid to face how many times I have allowed the impossible to bury my head in the sand, or even caused me to turn tail and run in the opposite direction. For many of us, what we heard as we grew up has impacted what we believe about life. We struggle to believe the possibilities that are ours, what can and cannot be achieved, what we are able to do with what talent we just might have been given. The Parable of the Talents and the three men can be a little frightening when you struggle to believe that you could have one talent, let alone more than one.
So, how does this change? How do we or I move from seeing only the impossible to accept any invitation God gives no matter how impossible it appears? How about looking for His fingerprints? I find it too easy to look for what isn’t rather than what is. Yet I believe Grace is the biggest paradigm shift in making the impossible appear exactly as God wants it to appear. The impossible becomes do-able in His power, it is possible in depending on Him, always as it is determined by Him! I have no idea what your impossible looks like, sounds like, or is! Right now I have plenty of my own impossibilities to discuss with Him, to sort through, rethink, receive!
I’m not sure I’m going to like every part of this Grace Process as it impacts the impossibilities I have hidden from for far too long, but it has to be done. We need to know that through, in, and with our Creator, our Savior, and Comforter, the impossible coming towards us at supersonic speeds is possible! Why, because nothing is impossible for God! (Luke 1:37 Contemporary English Version) And that is a direct quote from Gabriel, the Covering Angel.
“Jesus looked intently at them and said, ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.’ ” Matthew 19:26 The Message