God is the God of the Impossible.
From where I stand today, it looks impossible that God’s promise to me can ever be fulfilled. As I’ve contemplated my situation, how this promise He made me faded into oblivion, I’ve come to realize that He is only setting the stage to do what He does best—show up and show off. Therefore, I am in the perfect position to see Him step in and do the impossible.
As my daughter and I were talking about this issue a few days ago, Cassie asked me, “Why is it OK for God to seek His glory but it’s not OK for us to seek glory for ourselves?”
“Because,” I began, “when God gets the glory, it points everyone to Him.”
I have asked God for years to let my life bring Him glory, to allow me to point the world back to Him in all I say and do. While I feel like my life is falling apart in some ways, I sense that God is telling me this is just a set-up for Him to step in and do amazing things that only He can do. He is setting me up to point the world back to Him.
We’ve all heard Luke 1:37 that says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” But, let’s take a walk through scriptures and look at some biblical heroes.
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Genesis 21:1-2
God promised Abraham that He would be the Father of many nations. And yet, when he and his wife were well beyond child-bearing years, Sarah was still barren. Romans 4:19 puts it this way: “his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.” God made the promise, and yet He waited until it was humanly impossible before He stepped in and acted.
And God showed up, blessed Abraham and Sarah with a baby, and fulfilled His promise.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. Genesis 45:4-8
As a young boy, Joseph dreamed that one day his father and brothers would bow down to him. His brothers didn’t like his arrogance, so they decided to sell him into slavery and tell their father he was dead.
After years of bondage, false accusations, imprisonment, it appeared that Joseph’s promise was dead. The cup-bearer had forgotten him in prison. Then, in one day, he was called up from prison and elevated to second in command.
Joseph probably felt as if he would never see his father or brothers again—and may have even wondered if he wanted to see them. Then, when it seemed humanly impossible that his childhood dream would ever become a reality, there stood his brothers—bowing down to him.
And God showed up and brought about the fulfillment of the promise He made.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this. Exodus 14:1-4
Moses was never supposed to live. An edict had been issued that all male babies should be killed, but by the grace of God his life was spared. Not only was it spared, but he was raised in Pharaoh’s household! He received the best education and all the finest things available as a child. He was in the perfect position for God to use Him—humanly speaking.
But God didn’t use him until he was banished to the wilderness and forced to become a lowly shepherd. Then, God came to him and revealed his plan—to use Moses in his lowly state to lead his people to freedom. God chose to use him when it was humanly impossible.
Then, consider this episode of Moses’s life: Pharaoh finally succumbed to the pressure and sent the Israelites with Moses. As they marched to freedom, you can feel the exhilaration! God has fulfilled His promise to His people.
Except for one problem: God led them directly to the Red Sea. With the water in front of them and the Egyptians behind them, their hope for a fulfilled promised was completely annihilated. They were doomed. They were faced with the impossible.
And God showed up and parted the Red Sea, fulfilling His promise.
So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”… So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” John 11:6-7, 14-15
When Jesus’s good friend, Lazarus, fell sick, his sisters called for Jesus. Scripture records that Jesus stayed where he was for two more days (John 11:6). When He finally decided to go to his friend, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus waited until it was an impossible situation.
When Lazarus’s sister Martha complained, “If only you had come earlier, my brother wouldn’t be dead!” Jesus simply told her that this situation was for His glory.
And God showed up and raised Lazarus from the dead, forever pointing the world back to Him.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. Matthew 14:22-25
After feeding 5000 men, Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him. He needed some time to be alone with His Father. While He prayed, his disciples were traveling by boat when a storm began brewing. Jesus could have stepped in and calmed the storm for the disciples, but instead he waited until just before dawn. Then, He walked out on the waters to the boat while it was buffeted by the waves.
And God showed up and stilled the storm after He showed Himself the God of the impossible by walking on water.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. Luke 24:9-12
The disciples were sitting around, no doubt talking about the events of the weekend. I would love to hear the conversation!
“Can you believe,” Matthew said, “that we were so foolish to believe Him? How could we believe He was the fulfillment of the promise?”
“But,” Peter began, “how do we explain the feeding of the 5000? He healed the blind and the lame. And Lazarus! How do you explain that one? If He’s not the promised one, how did He make me walk on water?”
“I don’t know,” John says. “I’m just thoroughly confused. I really believed, but now He’s dead.”
Suddenly, the women burst through the door announcing that Jesus had risen from the dead!
And God showed up when the disciples thought their promise was dead and gone.
I’m at a place where I feel as if my promise from God has vanished, could never be fulfilled, has become an impossibility. But, if we look at the pattern in scripture, God always waits until it is humanly impossible before He shows up! He wants to make sure that the fulfillment of a promise from Him is clearly from Him so that we have no choice but to point the world back to Him. Is it possible that impossible is simply a set up so that God can show up? Is it possible that impossible is simply the setting for a promise fulfilled? Is it possible that impossible is an indication that fulfillment is just around the corner?
I find myself struggling to cling to this promise that I know is from God. He has told me that the days of fulfillment are near, and yet He has somehow allowed the possibility to fade into oblivion. As I cling to God, trying to focus securely on Him, I am beginning to see how this circumstance is simply a set up for God to get the glory. I remain fairly peaceful—as long as I keep my eyes on Him. These are tough days, but I am being stretched, learning to trust Him, seeking to know His purpose in this pain.
Perhaps you are struggling to believe God can fulfill a promise He has made to you. If you know the promise is from God, keep clinging to Him, believing He can do what He has said He can do. Perhaps He is simply setting up the impossible so that He can show up!