With God Nothing Is Impossible
By The Rev. Dr. James D. Kegel
The angel said to Mary, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”
Then Mary said, “Here I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your Word.”
GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE
FROM GOD OUR FATHER
AND THE LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, AMEN.
Nothing is impossible for God. With God all things are possible. There is nothing that God can not do. There are limitless possibilities for those willing to put their faith and trust in God. It is true for this congregation and each one of us in our personal lives through faith in the living God.
Impossibilities can happen. Take the case of the Reverend Robert Schuller. He graduated from Calvin College and Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan and went to California to start a church. It was during the 1950s when so many people from the Midwest went to California. Schuller loaded his books in his station wagon with his wife and small children and drove around until he found a place to start a congregation. It was an unconventional spot – in a drive-in movie theatre. Schuller began preaching on Sunday mornings from a portable pulpit erected in the parking lot and his congregation came in casual clothes and sat in their cars picking up the sermon over the portable speakers provided by the theatre.
On a very limited budget, he resolved to two things without fail: He would provide professionally printed bulletins – typeset bulletins – no matter what the expense and he would provide music provided by a pipe organ no matter how small. He would also hire professional musicians for the service. Robert Schuller built his parking lot church and later erected a church building to go with it.
The conventional wisdom of church leaders continued to say he built in the worst possible place for a church since it was surrounded by freeways and almost in the shadow of Disneyland. What seemed impossible, God made possible for Dr. Schuller. He later wrote a book describing his personal theology as “Possibility Thinking.” About twenty-five years ago, Schuller again stepped out in faith when he decided his church building was too small, so he designed a new 18 million dollar sanctuary made of glass. Only the finest materials, the finest design, went into the building. He added the largest pipe organ. His Board of Trustees resigned, every last one of them, because they said it was impossible to fund such a large project. They did not have vision. They were of little faith for not only was the “Crystal Cathedral” built, but it was entirely paid for by the time it was dedicated. God turned what was seemingly impossible into an unlimited possibility for Robert Schuller.
God makes all things possible. God can come into this congregation and use the resources here to build up the body of Christ. We do not need to focus on scarcity but abundance; not see the glass as half-empty but half-full. We can concentrate on what we can do rather than what we can not. This week I received an e-mail of encouragement from one of you. Among other things your message said, “Look to Jesus.” You reminded me of the optical illusion where if you look correctly you can see the face of Christ rather than just ink blots. You wrote of the time when Peter was walking on the water going to Jesus and then lost focus and started to sink. When he looked to Jesus, concentrated on Jesus, Peter was able to stay above the waves. What good advice for all of us in our times of trouble and discouragement, to look to Jesus and not ourselves, to concentrate on the Lord rather than our problems!
Our text for this morning is the Visitation. Mary visits her kinswoman Elizabeth whose unborn child, John the Baptist, leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb that the Savior was coming into the world. Mary is called blessed because she believes the Lord’s promise. We are called to be optimists not on the basis of wishful thinking but on God’s sure promise. God can make all things possible for us and our response needs to be the same as Mary’s, faith. Think of the Christmas story. Who would have thought that this country girl of fourteen or fifteen would be the mother of the Savior. Who would have imagined that the Son of God would be born in a stable and laid in a cow trough or that three kings would come from afar bearing expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. A greater impossibility: that a virgin would conceive and bear a child. This contradicts all the laws of nature, but God set up those laws and is able to use them as God wills. Once in all human history, the law of God was broken by God so that God’s Son might come into the world.
We need faith. Science can in no way disprove the miracle of Jesus’ conception and birth. The only disproof science can offer is based upon probability. If there have been billions and billions of children born and non of them was conceived by virgins, then science can tell us that it is most improbably that the Virgin Mary did conceive. What it can not tell us is that the virgin birth of Jesus did not occur. The Bible is a reliable witness of God and the Bible tells us that Jesus was conceived by a virgin. The God who made this world broke into this world in a new way in the birth of his Son, our Savior.
The Christian Church bears witness to the uniqueness of this Child by confessing clearly that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, Son of the Father from all eternity and son of the Virgin Mary, is our Lord. We look to Jesus and see in Him God’s will to help and save. What seems impossible is not so with God – with God there are unlimited possibilities and all we need is the faith to accept and receive what God has to offer.
There are many gifts given us by God, if we are open to them. The greatest gift of all is faith in the Lord Jesus. Faith is also a key to all the other gifts and it is not an easy one for us to receive. Faith seems to contradict modern science and common sense and flies in the faith of post-modern cynicism and skepticism. The claim that God was in Christ reconciling the world is offensive to our ears. How could a virgin conceive? How could God become a man? How could the death of this one man reconcile a whole world?
How could the events of two thousand years ago across the world mean fullness of life to us now and the promise of eternal life to come? Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest impossibility, yet it comes if we open our hearts and minds to receive it.
George Whitfield was a powerful preacher of repentance in England and America in the eighteenth century. He visited one wealthy family and saw to his dismay that the Son of God had no abiding place in the home. Before he left, Whitfield took a diamond ring and scratched on the windowpane of his room, “One thing thou lackest !” These four words pierced the heart of that family. They came to realize that with their money, the beauty and comfort of their home, even their outward religious observance, they lacked faith. They were without Jesus. They – and we – need faith to receive the blessing of God, faith to see the miracles of God all around us, faith to make the impossible, possible for us.
God has many blessings in store for us as individual people and for this congregation. If we look to Jesus, each one of us, and believe in Jesus, miracles can happen. We can change. We can become the people God wants us to be. We can reach out to others with the wonderful message of God’s love in Christ. God can turn what seems impossible into wonderful possibilities for this congregation, for me, for you. Blessings galore can be ours with faith in Jesus. FOR WITH GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. Amen.
Copyright 2003 James Kegel. Used by permission.