The rugged path between impossible and possible is navigated through clarity, courage and commitment. Each quality is essential!
Our hot water heater sprung a serious leak. Four days without hot water is a minor inconvenience. However, when outside temperature dips to -40°, a steaming hot bath before bedtime is a luxury I appreciated.
Representatives from two companies estimated the cost of replacing our near prehistoric heater. The first young man came, looked at the situation, and in less than one minute announced, “It can’t be done!” The second young men came, checked inside, outside, upside, downside, around the side, and over another side, before confirming, “Yea! No problem!”
What made the difference? Both men were presented the same problem; both were experts in their trade. “Impossible” to one perhaps meant, “too much trouble!” “Possible” from the other displayed a willingness to overcome any obstacles.
A Chinese Proverb says,
The person who says it cannot be done,
should not interrupt the person doing.”
Many vivid accounts of men and women who overcame impossible obstacles are written within the bible.
I think of Caleb one of 12 leaders Moses sent to spy out the promised land. “It can’t be done!” ten declared! Forty-five years later while the ten nay-sayers were cold in their desert graves, Caleb continued to believe, “With God’s help, I can“.
“So here I am today, eighty-five years old!
I am still as strong today
as the day Moses sent me out;
I’m just as vigorous to go out
to battle now as I was then.
Now give me this hill country
that the LORD promised me that day.”
Caleb remained willing to face the challenge head-on! Ominous giants could not prevent him from possessing God’s promise.
We all have “hill country”, an impossibility larger than personal ability. The nature of the obstacle is unimportant!
A job promotion or demotion,
a dream delayed or one in the making,
managing financial abundance or
Problems can be polar opposites! Glass ceilings waiting to be broken, fragile mirages before omnipotent God!
Sheri Fink reminded me recently clarity, courage and commitment are three essential ingredients necessary to accomplish victory. My past failures consistently resulted from a deficiency in at least one of these areas.
Nay-sayers and critics abound in every generation. “It can’t be done,” the noisy entourage gloats! Jeering relentlessly as the brave press against an impossible situation! Caleb’s resistance came from his own “tribe”. Our greatest detractors may be those who are the nearest to our hearts.
“For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.”
Mockers, with potential to stop us, ascend from the ranks of both friend and foe.
Clarity is “being certain or definite“. To an artist clarity means “sharpness to the image or sound”. Clarity for the Christian comes from knowing God’s intention, hearing His voice, and perceiving His direction.
The wise ask, “What is God saying?”
It would be foolish for Caleb to face the military prowess of mighty mountain defenders without God’s direction.
“I brought him back a report
according to my convictions…
I followed the LORD my God
There is a palpable difference between truth and conviction — between fact and faith! That veritable mountain we face is insurmountable without God!
Every person who stumbled in the bible, from Eve forward, doubted God. Each questioned and reasoned until faith dissolved into fragile unbelief before the very thing God meant them to overcome.
Clarity, genuine unshakeable clarity, is to know the presence, power and word of God for our specific situation. Without clarity one will effortlessly fall into rhythm behind the fear mongers. Without clarity conquerors become quitters!
The enemy’s devious voice still echoes, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1)
Caleb set his face like flint! His resolute conviction slapped the Deceiver up the side of the head! He knew,
“…Humanly speaking, it is impossible.
But with God everything is possible.”
Courage separated Caleb and the masses!
“But my fellow Israelites
who went up with me made the hearts
of the people melt in fear.”
A few fear-filled words turned believers into doubters, the brave into cowards! “Be careful little tongue what you say,” is more than a children’s chorus. Words carry the potential to destroy like wrecking balls or form building blocks!
“We can’t … they are too strong … powerful … cities are fortified and very large … Anakites, Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Canaanites”. Panic raced through the entire camp causing hearts to faint and knees to tremble.
Two brave men courageously stood in the gap,
“We should go up
and take possession of the land,
for we can certainly do it.”
It takes courage to “go up!” Only the brave will “take possession!” Courage affirms, “we can!”
Such courage germinates in the knowledge of God’s abiding presence. It flourishes in the shadow of the One who promises to never leave nor forsake us.
Every overcomer rises above fear to “go up” in faith!
I heard a story of a runner who intently prepared, conditioning body and mind, to run a marathon. He trained on a 26 mile course. After passing the 25 mile marker during his first marathon, he increased his pace pushing toward the finish line. The official length of a marathon is actually 26.2 miles. Miscalculating the distance, he started the sprint too soon and collapsed unconscious at the finish line. He was unprepared for the last .2 miles!
“So on that day Moses swore to me,
‘the land on which your feet have walked
will be your inheritance
and that of your children forever,
because you have followed the LORD
my God wholeheartedly.'”
Even though Caleb heard the clear word from God through Moses, it still took commitment to claim his promise. His entire generation died in the wilderness. Were there times of doubt in the desert?
Caleb endured seemingly endless wandering in the wasteland, survived plagues, judgements and wars. Yet, the promise echoed in his heart as clearly as the day it was spoken.
Caleb refused to quit before he conquered!
“Now then, just as the LORD promised,
he has kept me alive for forty-five years…”
Take Your Mountain!
With Caleb as our example, let’s remember God is bigger, stronger, and greater than any mountain standing in our way!
May we choose to fix our eyes on Jesus! Acknowledge that “great crowd of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) cheering us on! Seeking the clarity needed from the Word of God, may we each take courage in His Presence, with commitment to conquer.
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus.
“Everything is possible
for one who believes.”
Whether the mountain is a difficult obstruction or a dream unfulfilled, let’s go for it! How many new songs will be song, books published, and missions accomplished if we do? God is ready to partner with you in your impossible, creating a place for Him to receive glory?
Don’t quit! Conquer! Turn the impossible into possible!