A year ago, could you have imagined that you would be doing what you are doing today? What would you have thought if someone had said to you, “this time next year your main connection with people will be over Zoom or Skype or Facetime?”
Think about it.
Would you have laughed at the thought of working from home while your children were attending school in the next room? And how would you have felt if you had been told that you would not be worshipping in person through Lent, on Easter Sunday, or on Christmas Eve?
Nothing is Impossible with God
Could you have envisioned not gathering in groups, not feeding people in person, or not providing face to face care for people who were sick or dying? I know this might sound silly, but I am serious in saying it, “nothing is impossible with God.”
You have faced some seemingly impossible situations over the past year. You have developed and maintained relationships through technology. You have kept yourself, your family, and others safe and healthy through a deadly pandemic. No matter how bad things looked or how impossible they seemed, you found a way through. I will say it again, “nothing is impossible with God.”
What Really Matters
You have become more the person and leader you were created to be. You have found a way to achieve the things that really matter to you. In a season of volatility and change, when things seemed impossible and unobtainable, you have dug deep for new and fresh responses. In those moments, when you felt you did not know what to, something transformed the insurmountable into moments of grace. How can this be? How will this happen? Nothing is impossible with God.
I know it is hard to believe. We are people who think we can take care of ourselves. We rely on our own resources, strength, and power to handle most things. We have convinced ourselves that the absence of conflict and struggle means we are in alignment with God. But have you ever stopped to say, when the phone rings or the letter comes, or the crisis is too big, “nothing is impossible with God?”
Don’t You Ever Do That Again
I know it is difficult. There once was a pastor who was asked to visit an elderly woman who had been in bed for several weeks and was near death. When he arrived at her house, one of the caregivers led him to her bedside. They talked about her life, her family, her fears, and her hopes. As their time was coming to an end, being a caring pastor, he asked the woman if he could pray for her. She said, “Yes” and then added, “Ask God to let me get up and out of this bed and get back about my life.” The pastor knew she was too sick to ever get out of bed, but because he cared for her, he prayed. He gave thanks for her life and family and he asked God to touch her body, make her well, and let her be back about the life God had created for her. He finished the prayer with, “May God bless you.” As he turned to leave, she sat up in bed, put her legs over the side, placed her feet in her slippers and said, “Let me walk you to the door.” The pastor was flabbergasted. It was unbelievable. This woman, who had been in bed for weeks, sick and near death, was up, out of bed, and walking him to the door. When the pastor got to his car, he looked up to heaven and said to God, “Don’t you ever do that to me again.”
Do You Believe?
I know it is difficult. But the question is, do you believe that nothing is impossible with God? That phrase is found twice in the Bible. It appears once in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. The circumstances are very similar, but different. In the Old Testament it’s found in Genesis 18. An old couple named Abraham and Sarah have no children. A messenger of God comes to their tent one day and says, “You’re going to have children. You’ll conceive and have a son, and from him will come a nation, and that nation will bless the world.” Because of her old age, Sarah laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding!” But she had the son. She named him Isaac, which means laughter, because it seemed so funny to her.
From Isaac came the nation we call Israel. Despite being enslaved, persecuted, murdered, ostracized, made fun of, unwelcome, the descendants of Isaac have given the world the basis for a moral and ethical society. The foundation of our own faith, “You should love the Lord your God with all your mind and heart and soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” “You shall not kill; you shall not bear false witness against a neighbor; you shall not covet what your neighbor has. You shall not murder; you shall honor your marriage vows. Have no other God, have no idols, and remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” In those commandments, we have the basis for the whole Western world’s life together. It started when a messenger said to an old couple, “You’re going to have a baby and the world will be blessed.”
Mary Heard it Too
The phrase is also found in Luke 1. The messenger came to Mary, a teenage girl in a little town in northern Israel. She is not married but promised by her family to a carpenter who lived there in Nazareth by the name of Joseph. Before they are married, the messenger says, “You’re going to have a child.” She says, “But I don’t have a husband!” Then the messenger says, “You’re going to have a child, and he will bless the world.” And Mary gave birth to a son and named him Jesus.
In spite of the fact that he was mistreated, abandoned, made fun of, mocked, beaten, whipped, and executed, wherever he went, people’s hearts and lives were lifted. Even today, because of the impossible and improbable birth of Jesus, people are kind and generous. People who remember Jesus will repair their neighbor’s house when their own roof leaks. They’ll empty their pockets for other people’s children. They will turn the other cheek. They’ll go the second mile. They will even love their enemies. All because a messenger said, “You’re going to have a child and you’ll name him Jesus.” And Mary said, “I don’t understand it. How can this be?” And the messenger, and angel said, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
What are you facing that seems insurmountable? If you are reading this you might be thinking, will we ever return to what we once knew? Will we ever worship together again? Will we ever sing together, shake one another’s hands, or hug one another again?
Leading Into the Impossible
As a leader, you are caring for people who are facing impossible situations. They are asking you and themselves, “will I ever breathe again?” “Walk again?” “See my family again?” They are facing financial difficulties, or broken relationships, or unemployment, and are asking “How will I ever make it?
Let me remind you, if God can give a child to an old couple in a tent and change the world; if God can give a baby to a teenage girl and change the world, what will God do through you? I mean, why should you and I ever give up hope? Why would we ever doubt, or shrug our shoulders in despair? I have learned my lesson over the past year, and I hope you have too. “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Choosing to Offer Hope
Let’s stop and reflect for a moment. As you enter this new year, where can you offer hope and a belief for better days ahead? I’m not talking about positive thinking. I am asking you to give the gift of expectation. Look at the next year, roll up your sleeves, and begin to make it happen.
You have all it takes to see the possibilities in what seems impossible. Remember, the possibilities do not depend entirely upon you, your strength, resources, or desires. The grace to face the insurmountable is a gift from God, for nothing is impossible with God.
I had a friend who put it this way, “Write it over the door at your house. Write it on your mind. Write it across your heart. It will come in handy this new year. Nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible with God.
Walking With You
One more thing. Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help to you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are ready to assist you in becoming the leader you are created to be. Don’t hesitate to call as we seek to give insights and resources to assist you in becoming a courageous leader.
Check out LeaderCast, a podcast designed to give insights and resources to courageous leaders. Who you are is how you lead. So, let’s face what is coming together.