I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.
They said it couldn't be done. Henry Ford came up with a revolutionary new idea to make an engine with eight cylinders, known today as the V-8. His engineers said it couldn't be done but Ford told them to proceed anyway. They worked for over a year and couldn't develop it. They wanted to tell the poor man that he was delusional but he paid their paychecks so they continued on until, low and behold, they did it!!
Then there was the Lamp Division of General Electric that was assigned the impossible task of frosting a light bulb on the inside. It was originally assigned as a joke. But nobody let Marvin Pipkin in on the joke and he actually took it seriously. Not only did he design such a bulb but he also came up with an acid that made minutely rounded pits rather than sharp depressions. This caused the bulb to be strengthened.
Or we could talk about 25-year-old Roger Bannister, who on May 6, 1954, for the first time in recorded history, broke the 4 minute mile. For years people had tried and failed to break the barrier and it got to the point that it was thought to be impossible. Up until 1954, the world record was 4 minutes 1.3 seconds. Bannister did it in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. Today many have done it in under 4 minutes.
For nearly every major accomplishment that people have made in this world there have been those who have said that it's impossible and that it can never be done. People have been underestimating the God-given talents and abilities of others since man has been on earth. But how much more do we underestimate God and his abilities?
The God that we serve created the universe out of nothing simply by speaking it into existence (Genesis 1). And he holds all things together by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17).
Since the beginning of time, mankind has sold God short, not quite believing that he can do the impossible. And yet time and time again, he has proven them wrong.
First Four Minute Mile
I. Abraham and Sarah Laugh
Two such people who underestimated the Lord were Abraham and Sarah. God had made many promises to Abraham. He was to have a land and a seed. He was to be the Father of many nations. His descendants were to be as numerous as the sands on the seashore and the stars in the heavens. And all the nations were to be blessed through him (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15; 22:17,18).
Abraham was 75 when he received the promise and it wasn't fulfilled until he was 100 and Sarah, was 90. Of course, we know that they lost patience with God's timing and tried to help him along by Abraham having a son, named Ismael, by Sarah's handmaid Hagar (Genesis 16).,
When God told Abraham that he was still going to give him a son through Sarah and that he would be the answer to the promise the Lord had made, the first reaction of both of the future parents was laughter. Scripture tells us:
"Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Genesis 17:17).
And in chapter 18 we see Sarah do the same thing. She laughed and then tried to deny it because of her fear of having laughed at the Lord. But God knew better (18:12-15). Here is his response to this event:
The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son" (13-14).
And of course, we know that God always has the last word in every situation. Ninety-year-old Sarah had a son by 100-year-old Abraham. And they called him Laughter, which is what the name Isaac means in Hebrew (Genesis 21:3).
II.The Israelites Doubt God's Deliverance
Another incidence of people underestimating God happened at the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt. They had become slaves after the death of Joseph and it seemed that God had forgotten his promise to Abraham of a land of their own. Then the Lord raised up 80-year-old Moses, who 40 years earlier had given up being a prince in Egypt after murdering an Egyptian who was harming an Israelite. When being confronted about it he got scared and ended up fleeing for his life (Exodus 2:1ff).
God sent a reluctant Moses back to Egypt to liberate his people Israel in order to lead them into the promised land. However, even after sending 10 plagues to prove his power, both to the Egyptians and to the Israelite nation (Exodus 7-12) and Pharaoh initially letting the people go, neither Pharaoh nor the people of Israel ultimately believed God's power. Pharaoh thought better of sending the people away and decided to pursue them. Pharaoh's army finally caught up with Israel and cornered them at the Red Sea. (Exodus 14).
God's people began to be fearful and they complained that Moses should have never brought them out of the land of Egypt just to die in the wilderness (14:10-12).
We know from this passage that the outcome was that God parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites would go through on dry ground while a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night kept the Egyptians away. After all of Israel had crossed the Sea, the Egyptians followed them and were drowned by God when he caused the water to close upon them (23-31).
Though the Lord gave Israel miracle after miracle, they never quite understood that he was the God of the impossible and that nothing is beyond his power. Indeed he finally got Israel into the promised land that was given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even though a whole generation died in the wilderness because of unbelief (Numbers 14).
III. Mary is Concerned Over a Virgin Birth
We could remain in the Old Testament and see examples in every era in salvation history of God doing the impossible. There were men such as Gideon (Judges 6-8) that God used to destroy Israel's enemies the Midianites. The enemy numbered in the thousands, yet the Lord used only 300 people from the army of Israel to win the battle.
Or we could study David slaying Goliath with just a stone and a sling because Goliath defied the armies of the living God (I Samuel 17).
Or maybe we could look at Elijah who defeated the prophets of Baal when Yahweh, the God of Israel answered by fire during a contest between Baal and the one true God. Both Elijah and the false prophets built altars and prayed that their gods would accept their offering. The Lord accepted Elijah's sacrifice, completely burning it up, even though it was soaked with water. Earlier it was seen that Baal couldn't do a thing since he was no god at all. He was an idol (I Kings 18).
However, rather than remaining in the Old Testament, let us move to the New and look at a couple of examples that demonstrate the great power and ability of God. Perhaps one of the greatest recorded events that demonstrates God doing the impossible, besides the resurrection, is the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Luke 1:26-45 we have the account of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and telling her that she would have a child. He said:
"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end" (30-33).
"Then Mary asked a normally sensible question: "How will this be since I am a virgin?" (34).
But, of course, this was not a normal conception. It was to be supernatural. Only God could do it. The Angel explains:
'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.'
Having heard this, Mary accepted the blessing of God in her life and later praised the Lord, after visiting her cousin Elizabeth, with what has become known as the Magnificat. (Luke 1:38-55).
IV. The Disciples are Skeptical Over Lunch
To prove God's control over impossible situations, we could turn to any one of Jesus' miracles. And the supernatural provision of food is no exception. If we put the parallel passages together from John 6:1-14 and Matthew 14:13-21 we get a full picture. We learn in Matthew that Jesus just heard of John the Baptist's death and that he withdrew to a remote place by boat. Large crowds followed Jesus on foot because they had seen him perform miracles. Jesus had compassion on them and began to heal the multitude.
Then it started to get late and the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away in order for them to get food because they were in a remote place. But Jesus didn't want to do that. Instead, he tested the disciples. And unfortunately, they failed the test. John 6:5-13 states:
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him: There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Only God could take a boy's lunch and make it into a feast to feed 5000 men plus women and children. That makes it at least 10,000 people if every man had a wife. And who knows how many the total was if you add all the kids. This was truly an impossible situation!
If something is in Scripture over and over again, then God thinks it's important for us to know and we need to sit up and take notice. Not only is it said over and over again that nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37) or similar things like "Nothing is too hard for thee" (Jeremiah 32:17) or even God asking the question: "Is anything too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27), it is also demonstrated over and over as well. And we have only scratched the surface of the illustrations in God's Word.
The question we must each ask ourselves is this: "What does that mean for me today?" First we must realize that the same God who created and sustains the universe; the one who raised the dead, made the blind to see; the one who gave an heir to Abraham and fulfilled his promises of a land and a seed, lead the children of Israel out of Egypt into the promised land; the one who performed the virgin birth and fed thousands of people with a boy's lunch is the same God that we serve today. He hasn't changed. Nothing is impossible for our God.
Are you facing some impossible situation today that you think cannot be remedied? .Trust the God of the impossible to help you solve that which you cannot solve on your own. He has everything under control. And he can indeed cause all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
And finally, what are you allowing God to accomplish through your life? You might not think that you are capable of doing very much "but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are." (I Corinthians 1:27,28). If the Lord has placed something on your heart to do, it is he who will give you the power to perform it.
It was the great missionary William Carey who said: "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." Someone else has said that "God is not looking at your ability but he is looking for your availability." Are you making yourself available to Him to accomplish his purposes through you?
Let us remember that "Our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine according to his power that works in us. (Ephesians 3:20). May we give our God the Glory by allowing him to do the impossible through us. For that is a life well lived!
© 2018 Jeff Shirley
Jeff Shirley (author) from Kentwood, Michigan on June 24, 2018:
Jeff Shirley (author) from Kentwood, Michigan on June 24, 2018:
It is one of my favorite verses too Bill. Thanks for reading!
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on June 24, 2018:
One of my favorite verses, Jeff, is Ephesians 3:20 - " Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," Our God is an awesome God, and that's not just a cliche.
charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on June 24, 2018: