Have you ever tried to do the impossible, like creating a perpetual motion machine, or trying to assemble a child’s toy using the instructions from the box? Maybe that is the boldness of the human spirit (as we are told), or perhaps just the overconfidence of our pride, but we still try to do things where there is zero chance (or virtually no chance) of success. Like the gambler believing that the next hand will be a winner, we might tell ourselves that we will solve the problem this time, or that we will overcome a challenge, even when there are fundamental laws of physics, limitations of the human experience, and practical constraints on what we can achieve.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t aim for great things. Motivated people have achieved what others thought was impossible, usually through determination, sacrifice, and hard work (much of which may be forgotten after their success is realized). However, there are still things that simply cannot be done with the resources that humankind has to work with.
In fact, Jesus said as much, talking about salvation:
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26 NASB
There is absolutely, positively no way for sinful people (including me) to earn their own salvation. Period.
Only God’s gift of salvation (see Ephesians 2:1-10), through the payment for sins that Jesus (God the Son) voluntarily paid through His sacrifice, can bring us from spiritual death to everlasting life. By ourselves, this would be impossible. With God, though, even this separation (created by us through our sins) can be overcome, restoring people (those who accept His gift) back to the life for which they were created. It is impossible for us to earn the right to walk in restored righteousness with God, whether on this earth or in eternity, but that’s exactly what Jesus did for us.
Even beyond salvation, though, there are things that loving people (both followers of Jesus and otherwise) want to do, yet which seem to be absolutely impossible. Despite the best motivational speeches and self-help books, when we desire to accomplish certain noble things, we may still be overwhelmed with the difficulties of doing so. And, in fact, some of these simply cannot be achieved through human action.
For instance, who wouldn’t like to accomplish one or more of the following?
- Change the world at its core for the better.
- Heal relationships irreparably separated by hate and history.
- Resolve conflict at a substantial scale.
- Help the hurting and provide them with all that they need for wholeness and restoration.
- Find the meaning of life.
Yes, certain human beings have achieved a measure of progress on some of these topics, like mediating a truce between friends or even groups. However, I believe that many of these things are impossible – especially when it comes down to the heart-change that is necessary for true healing – if we rely on our own power alone.
The great news is that, as it turns out, Jesus offers solutions to all of these things. What is impossible for us is possible with Him:
- Jesus changed the world, taking human beings locked in bondage to sin, and providing them hope and purpose.
- Jesus offers those whose lives are marked by hate and animosity a chance to reconcile.
- Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He brings an end to some hostilities here on earth, even before He returns in the future to usher in eternal peace.
- Jesus comforts with a peace that goes beyond human understanding (see Philippians 4:7).
- Jesus not only told us about our purpose on this earth (with the simple – but intensely complex – command, “Follow me”), but also showed us what it meant to honor God the Father.
So, I hope that you aspire to impossible things. Of course, these are best selected with the direction of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, but once a path is set, don’t try to do it on your own. Call upon the mighty power of God, for whom the “impossible” of humankind is a piece of cake!
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.