Making the Impossible Possible – Clarity, Courage, and Committment

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.

Overcome

Challenge

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.”
Joshua 14:10-11

Caleb remained willing to face the challenge head-on! Ominous giants could not prevent him from possessing God’s promise.

Mountain

We all have “hill country”, an impossibility larger than personal ability. The nature of the obstacle is unimportant!

The way up!

A job promotion or demotion,
a dream delayed or one in the making,
managing financial abundance or
facing bankruptcy.

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.
Psalm 55:12-13

Mockers, with potential to stop us, ascend from the ranks of both friend and foe. 

Clarity

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. 

Impossible to possible

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
wholeheartedly.”
Joshua 14:7

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.”
Matthew 19:26

Everything is possible

Courage

Courage separated Caleb and the masses!

“But my fellow Israelites
who went up with me made the hearts
of the people melt in fear.” 
Joshua 14:8

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 strongpowerful … 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.”
Numbers 13:30

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!

Commitment

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! 

Distance matters! It takes the tenacity of a marathon runner to face the impossible! It requires commitment to finish well!

“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.'”
Joshua 14:9

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?

Commitment

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…”
Joshua 14:10

Forty five years of trusting, waiting, training, and persevering. Forty five years of commitment to God who is faithful. Caleb looked to the finish line; he ran the distance.

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.”
Mark 9:23

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!

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Further Reading:

Second is Better Than First! When Second is Best!

Nothing is Impossible – With God Your Problem is God’s Opportunity!

Nothing is Impossible

I hold in my hands an amazing reminder that nothing is impossible with God. Our greatest obstacles can become stepping-stones of God’s opportunity in our lives.

What is the hardest thing you have ever faced? Multiplying it by more than you could imagine gives an idea what refugees across the world face daily!

My gift is a simple little mosaic tile with Arabic letter “n” (pronounced “noon”).Noon

“Noon” is the symbol Islamic militants used to mark Christian homes and businesses. It was the signal to “convert, pay a tax or be killed. Many Christians fled as their property was confiscated by ISIS.

Yet this very symbol has become a source of solidarity, strength and perseverance. On the back of my tile is a name of the person who created it; a gentle reminder to pray for them and others.

Nothing Is Impossible With God

Nothing is Impossible

They are a modern day example of facing impossible odds, and coming through strong. God gives us many more examples:

With God
walls crumble to dust
jail doors fling open
the weak become strong
lepers healed as they walk
a box lunch feed thousands
despised women and ignored children find their place
enemy armies flee in terror
lions shut their mouths
raging waves and winds halt
persecutors become preachers
the fearful made fearless…

When God speaks all of creation stops and obeys! Nothing is impossible! Nothing!

If God is For Us

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

When we are hardly capable of keeping our heads above ground, it is difficult to remember; remembrance is a powerful tool giving strength to face obstacles head on.

Remember

Jonah remembered God in the belly of a fish,

“When my life was ebbing away, 
I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer
rose to you…
I will say, ‘Salvation comes 
from the LORD.'”
Jonah 2: 7-9

In remembering came salvation and a second chance to obey.

I remember my affliction and my wandering…
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail“.
Lamentations 3: 19-21

The writer goes on to declare God’s faithfulness, declaring him as our Source and Sufficiency. The God who is more than enough.

At one of his most critical moments, Joseph remembered the dreams God has given him and watched as they were fulfilled before his eyes.

There is something very powerful about remembering what God has said and done; it ignites confidence for today and  births hope for tomorrow.

Thankfully, God has given us a book of remembrance – The Bible.

My “Noon”

My Impossibles

I’ve never had to flee my home, part a sea, raise the dead, face lions, or fierce armies. Consistently though, obstacles I’m not sure I can endure, let alone overcome, are in my path.

Several years ago, I was challenged to keep a journal. I struggled with it for a long time until Pastor Rod Barks showed me “S-O-A-P”scripture, observation, application and prayer. This little guideline is exactly the structure I need to keep on track.

My journal is a road map of my obstacle course of overcoming through solidarity, strength and perseverance

depression and suicidal tendencies,
addictions,
failures,
brokenness,
prolonged deserts of the soul.

In this little journal are accounts of how God

brings hope in my hopelessness
helps in my weakness
transforms courage from fear
and faith from frailty.

With God nothing is impossible! My journal like the “noon” is a reminder of how big and crazy awesome my God is. My smallness doesn’t restrict Him; the world’s madness doesn’t hold Him down, keep Him back or restrain Him in any way. Nothing is impossible with God!

All things are possible for one who believes.”
Mark 9:23

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***SPECIAL THANKS: To Scott Aspinall Photography for the use of title photo! You are an amazing artist with you camera! Please take a moment to check out his work. 

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