Dec 232013 6 Responses

With God All Things Are Possible

With God all things are possible.

It’s a saying which Christians put on coffee mugs, bumper stickers and ‘get well soon’ cards. It’s recited in locker rooms, waiting rooms, and prayer rooms. When situations are hopeless and we don’t know what to do, we remind ourselves, “With God all things are possible.”

It’s the great story of Scripture. God can do far more than we can imagine.

With God:

Sarah gives birth to a child when she was well past the birthing age

Israel walks out of Egypt and is freed from slavery

David kills Goliath

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survive a fiery furnace

Water turns to wine

A lake becomes a sidewalk

The lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see

With God all things are possible.

It’s a tremendous Biblical promise.

Yet instead of living in response to the possibility of what God can do, Christians have turned this powerful phrase into an empty saying which many say without meaning, others say without hope, and a few say while feeling tremendous guilt because they never experience any impossibility becoming reality.

The heart of humanity’s problem with this promise is our misunderstanding of what “all things” means.

Whenever we hear “all things,” our first thought is of “all the things” we want. We assume God is promising to do “all our things.” When “all our things” do not happen, some believe it’s a sign of a lack of faith while others believe God does not have real power. Either way, we are left either disappointed with ourselves or with God.

But does the Bible really promise God can and will do everything I want? Clearly not.

The promise stating “With God all things are possible” is made on two occasions:

The first time it is said in response to Mary when the angel tells her she will give birth to the Messiah. “How will this be?” Mary asked the angel. After explaining it to her, the angel promised her that with God all things are possible.

The second time it is said by Jesus in response to the disciples. After telling his followers how difficult it is for a rich person to be saved, the disciples asked the question, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered them by saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19.26)

On the two occasions that the New Testament states that with God all things are possible, both involve God’s redemption plan of humanity. How will Mary become pregnant with the Messiah? With God all things are possible. How can anyone ever be saved? With God all things are possible.

The context of this promise is abundantly clear—the promise of God’s ability directly correlates with his desire to change the hearts and minds of men and women. The “all things” refers to God’s willingness to do whatever he desires to open the eyes of people to his grace.

This verse is not about his desire to do whatever it takes to make our dreams come true. It’s not about God’s willingness to make a ball bounce our way so our team will win the championship. It’s not about God’s willingness to change a diagnosis if we get enough people praying or to give us a raise if we ask the right thing.

It’s about his continued pattern of extending his grace to the least expected and softening the hearts of the most rebellious people imaginable.

One of the most tragic mistakes Christians make is to take this promise about God’s power and to make it about our circumstances. Doing so not only causes us to doubt God, but it also results in us giving up on people whom God has called us to love.

If we truly believe “With God all things are possible” and we understand the proper context in which it is stated, we will live radically different lives.

We will:

Obey no matter the circumstances because we know God can use our obedience to accomplish his will.

Never give up on people because we know no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.

Never stop praying for people because we know God has the habit of saving the unexpected.

Never stop telling the story of Jesus because we never know whom God will chose to save.

Trust God in every circumstance because we know He is always working in ways we cannot fully understand.

With God all things are possible,” the angel explained to Mary. It wasn’t a full description of how she would give birth to the Messiah, but it was enough for her to understand what she needed to do. “Let it be to me according to your word,” she responded to the angel. Her trust in God and the angel’s promise that God can make happen whatever is necessary to accomplish His will caused Mary to submit to God.

Sometimes I wonder how a young teenage girl could be used of God in such a mighty way, but then I remember, “With God all things are possible.”

If you ever wonder how God could ever use you to accomplish His will, obey Him and remember, “With God all things are possible.”

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