Impossible vs. God; December 22, 2019

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

This is one of the fundamental truths of Scripture, yet we forget it in practice all too often. Three times we have God saying this explicitly about Himself, to Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 32:27) to Mary, (Luke 1:37) and here. Each time, God has backed up His words. Jerusalem was indeed destroyed and then renewed, Mary indeed became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and bore Jesus, and through the years countless “impossible” people have been saved. We hear passages like these and get encouraged, and then turn around and focus on difficulties instead of on God! We miss out on countless miracles because we refuse to trust God for them. The particular issue here was the disposal of wealth, and Peter’s question (verse 27) and Jesus’ response should be a huge encouragement to all who are fully committed to Christ, but we are left with the question of whether we are willing to make that commitment. The young man who triggered this episode couldn’t bring himself to do it, at least not at that point, and that is precisely what Jesus was talking about being impossible for man. You could say that the young man was addicted to his wealth, and addictions are indeed impossible to kick by human effort alone. However, God is able to make it happen! When we look honestly at our own situation and attitudes, despair is a very natural response. However, if we submit our weaknesses and imperfections to God, He is able to supply us with everything we lack, including the commitment to follow through. What it takes on our part is choice, the exercise of our free will. Sometimes that is huge, and the results are immediate and dramatic, but sometimes it is a series of small choices, getting more in line with God step by step. The young man in this story was presented with a huge choice, and he didn’t take it. However, we are all presented with choices daily, and choosing to follow Christ in each one builds to a glorious conclusion. Conversely, the devil tries to tear us down by getting us to make a series of wrong choices, and that result can be disastrous. Even the huge choice isn’t final, but needs to be backed up with consistent small choices. If all of that seems daunting, we need to remember that it’s not difficult for, or with, God.

This is certainly a Word to me, because I am constantly presented with things and situations that are impossible from the human perspective. For starters, I minister in Japan, which has the lowest “rate of return on investment” of any mission field in the world. There is no active persecution, but genuine conversions are painfully few and far between. However, I do have a few growing disciples in the congregation, and I’m seeing distinct progress in one even right now. My schedule can seem daunting, but God has gotten me through worse before, and He will get me through this now. He has given me, and this church, the vision of Omura again being the foremost Christian city in the nation, and that is manifestly impossible by human effort, so I’ve got to hang onto what Jesus says here and trust Him to bring it to pass, even using me in the process.

Father, thank You for this Word. I am constantly telling people to focus on You rather than on themselves, and here I need to be reminded of that myself! Thank You for Your plans, for this church, this city, and this nation. May they indeed be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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