We have much more than a friend in Jesus.
The danger in all of our talk about having a real, authentic, down-to-earth relationship with God comes when we trade the almighty, sovereign, intervening Creator of the universe for a companion to chat with about life’s joys and challenges. We don’t really expect him to show up and change anything; we just hope he’ll keep us company along the way.
Because we’re all tempted to fall back into small, domesticated views of God and into small, short-sighted prayers, God wrote a Book. He gave us words to inject us again with wonder in the midst of the mundane, and in the face of the unique challenges in each of our lives.
These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
God has spoken, in the Gospel of John and everywhere else in Scripture, so that we would believe, and so that we would be prepared to face anything in this life with faith that he will do whatever necessary to give us real and full life, and to reveal and spread his own glory (Isaiah 48:11). God, with all of his strength, wisdom, authority, and love, is totally committed to those two things in your life, against all opposition and against all odds.
Reading the Bible is about redefining the impossible.
Feeling the Impossible with Fear
When God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, he made him a stunning promise: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation” (Genesis 12:1–2). Abraham was seventy-five that day. But he believed God, and so he left for Canaan with his wife Sarah, trusting God would bring the children, and the grandchildren, and the great-great-great-grandchildren.
Ten years went by with no children (Genesis 16:3). Think about your last ten years, all that happened (or didn’t happen) over all those months of your life. Abraham and Sarah began to doubt. They knew the promise well, had stood and rested on those words for years, but now they weren’t so sure.
But God, it’s been so long. (Genesis 15:2)
But God, I still don’t have a son of my own. (Genesis 15:2) But God, you promised. (Genesis 15:3)
And [the LORD] brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5–6)
Abraham believed, again.
Then fourteen more years go by (Genesis 17:1). Where were you twenty-four years ago? I had just learned how to count to ten and walk up and down stairs without help.
But God, I am one hundred years old. (Genesis 17:17) But God, my wife and her womb are ninety-nine years old. (Genesis 17:17) God, you must not have meant what you said. (Genesis 17:18)
One year later, “The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised” (Genesis 21:1). God defied the impossible, waiting and waiting beyond even the faintest realm of possibility. He redefined the “impossible” in terms of his infinite power and wisdom. He waited until Abraham and Sarah were a hundred years old, in part, so that we would define the impossible in our lives differently.
Defying the Impossible with Faith
What impossibility are you confronted with right now?
- Have you fallen into a rut spiritually and run out of ways out?
- Is your child rejecting Jesus and less open to talking about it?
- Are the tensions getting worse at work with no hope for change?
- Are you facing another year of chronic pain or unbearable sickness?
- Is there some unresolvable conflict in your family?
Is this year two, or ten, or twenty-four? Has it been long enough that you’re beginning to wonder whether God will come through, whether he’ll be faithful to his promises?
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. . . . If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 14:13; 15:7)
Whatever the burden or obstacle or fear is in front of you, today is another opportunity to ask, “Is anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18:14). Another opportunity to redefine what might happen if he moved. Another opportunity to defy the impossible with faith.
Praying for a Breakthrough | Are you praying for a breakthrough? Don’t lose heart. Grow determined. Intense opposition almost always precedes a breakthrough.
The Main Ingredient in Effective Prayer | Prayer is effective, not because of great men who pray, but because of a great God who in Christ graciously hears his people. He’s the main ingredient.
A Picture of Prevailing Prayer | Real prayer begins with real desire, often with real desperation. We cry to God, but he does not seem to respond. God wants us to keep asking and cry out louder.