Posts tagged ‘impossible’

Making the Impossible Possible

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.  Zechariah 4:10

I can get discouraged at the beginning of any big project. When I was a kid I decided I wanted to build a model. So my dad took me to the local hobby store and I chose a firetruck because my dad was a firefighter. The picture on the box was just like my dad’s firetruck. But when I opened the box, there were hundreds of pieces and pages of directions. I was immediately discouraged. It was actually too big of a project for me to accomplish on my own at my age. Fortunately, my dad recognized this fact and helped me work on it. Simply his presence helped more than I can describe. Knowing he was there, that I was not alone, made an impossible project possible. It took weeks, even months, but I completed the firetruck. Let me rephrase that statement. My dad and I completed the firetruck. I would not have been able to do it alone.

When I became a pastor 10 years ago, I felt much like I did as a kid in the hobby store. Leading a church looked like so much fun. I could see the finished product. But once I arrived at the Richland Church, the box was opened and I realized it was an impossible task. But just like I did as a kid with the firetruck model, I tried to build this church on my own. The more I worked, the less I accomplished. But then I read Zechariah 4:10. I realized experientially what I had known intellectually for years, God just wants me to open the box and get started. He will build the church. In fact, any project God calls us to build cannot be built by our effort, but by His might and by His power. 

And so I realized that all the strategic planning, organizing and effort in the world will not accomplish anything unless God is the One directing it, leading it, and building it. It doesn’t work to build the model myself and then ask God to bless it. Oh, the model might get built, but only Mr Rogers would say it was worth anything. If you want a model to change the world, to change YOUR world, simply open the box and let God build it through your hands. 

Are You Afraid?

“But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!”  Jeremiah 38:19

Jeremiah had told anyone who would listen that the only way to save their lives would be to surrender to the king of Babylon. Jeremiah had been imprisoned and tortured at the order of the king of Judah, Zedekiah, for proclaiming this God-given message to anyone who would listen. Now the Babylonian army was at Judah’s border and Zedekiah had no one else to turn to for truth other than Jeremiah. So he secretly called for Jeremiah one last time to ask what he needed to do in light of the advancing Babylonian army. Jeremiah’s message was the same, Surrender! Surrender to the king of Babylon and live! But this was unthinkable, impossible!

Have you ever had a message from God that you didn’t like, that was unthinkable, or even impossible? Perhaps He is telling you to forgive a person who has hurt you deeply. Or maybe you have a co-worker who has been scheming to take your job, but the clear word you hear from God every time you pray is, “Love your enemy.” Or maybe God has called you to another state, another job, or to go back to school, but you are afraid to leave your current situation.

The specific word from God doesn’t matter. It only matters what we do with His Word, the Word made flesh. The only strength we have to accomplish the word of God in our lives is to invite the Word into our lives. Jesus is the Word made flesh. He took your sins and mine, nailed them to the cross, buried them in the grave, and was resurrected to be with YOU and ME! He gives us strength to do His word. But like Zedekiah, we cannot imagine how we could surrender to the kings of Babylon in our lives. Like Zedekiah, we focus on the earthly challenge and the temporal foe. 

But the Word became flesh so you and I could not only focus on Him, but live in Him. When you choose to live IN Him, He lives IN you! What God is asking of you today may seem unthinkable, unimaginable, even impossible. But when Jesus is in you, all things become possible. When you commune with Jesus, earthly challenges become opportunities. When you have supper with Jesus, temporal foes become agents of God to unite your heart with His. 

Zedekiah was afraid to surrender to the king of Babylon because he had not surrendered to the King of the Universe. So he ran from the king because he ran from the King. When we run from the King, we are overcome by our fears and will be conquered by them. But God offers us another path, His path. It’s a path paved with love by the blood of Jesus who walks with you every step of the way.

No matter what your struggle happens to be, how impossible it seems, Jesus is with you. Focus on Him. Listen to Him. Abide in Him. Surrender to Him. And then you will be able to proclaim with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13

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