Scripture Reflection based on Impossible Things
Ours is a God of miracles, and he does not limit those miracles to scripture or the saints, but offers the miraculous to each and every one of his beloved children. Likewise, while he can and does do the “impossible” in the extraordinary events and trials of our lives, he does not confine miracles to the extraordinary, but instead lovingly offers to set his hand to even the most mundane moments of our every day lives. In fact, it is by inviting and recognizing miracles in the every day that we learn to cultivate the hope for miracles, and to trust completely that God will provide for all our needs.
There is one scripture in particular that seems to hold a key to “cultivating the hope for miracles.” Philippians 4:6 tells us:
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”
There it is. God’s instruction, and his prescription, all wrapped up in one little sentence.
The instruction: Have no anxiety at all. In other words, Bobby McFerrin had it right - Don’t worry, be happy.
The prescription to remain free from all anxiety: Pray, let your loving Father know your desires, and give thanks, knowing that he hears you and will answer you.
Of course, for many of us, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. We worry about the physical and spiritual wellbeing of our families, financial matters, world hunger, national security, our infant’s acceptance into Harvard, and what we’re going to wear to the New Year’s Eve party. And, periodically, challenges present themselves that seem impossible not to worry about, such as the loss of a job, a frightening diagnosis, or a loved one’s addiction.
But our God - the God of the Impossible - gives us many opportunities to sit at his School of Trust, where we develop an understanding of his love for us, acceptance of his Will, and the absolute knowledge that he will provide the miracle, if it is according to his will and will aid in our sanctification.
God’s School of Trust is open every day, and class is in session every time we offer up our petitions with confidence. It is by placing our tiny, every day problems before God that we can actively participate in classes on a regular basis. By being active participants in the School of Trust, we become more and more confident in our God of the Impossible. Then, in the most difficult of times, when we most need the impossible, we will be free from anxiety, offering our prayers and petitions to God, with thanksgiving, having developed the habit by practice, and having learned to trust through the fruits of that practice.
Attending God's School of Trust
In my own life, I’m frequently astonished when I can practically hear God laughing as he answers my most silly and mundane requests. Case in point: Five days before Christmas, I worried whether THE BIG Christmas gift was going to arrive in time, since I had received notification the day before that it was scheduled for delivery between the 21st and 29th. I offered up a quick prayer - something along the lines of, “Gee, God, it sure would be nice if that big gift arrived today!” - and then, realizing that it was the 20th and the earliest delivery date wasn’t until the next day, I amended my request “Well, we don’t need it today, but just please make sure it comes in time!” A few hours later, I received a text: “Your item is scheduled to arrive today.” And moments later, I received another text: “Your item has been delayed due to weather but will arrive soon.”
Now, I can’t know this for sure, but it does strike me that maybe that first text message was God, saying:
“Okay, Beloved Daughter, here’s that little miracle you wanted - just because… I AM, and I can!”
And then, when I amended my petition, he laughed, probably thinking When will she learn? and sent that second text, as if to say:
“Oh, well, if you weren’t really looking for a miracle, I’ll take it back! But don’t worry, Daughter, it will still arrive in time!”
Indeed, God’s School of Trust never fails us. Every class will teach us that he loves us, and that he wants the very best for us. When we invite him in and open our mundane, ordinary lives to the impossible, we will never be disappointed.
Here are a few scriptures that illustrate God’s miraculous nature, the role of faith in experiencing miracles, and God’s desire to give us the very best:
The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12) - consider especially how Christ made ordinary water into the most extraordinary wine.
The Healing of the Boy with a Demon (Matt 17:14-20) - faith the size of a mustard seed
The Girl Restored to Life and the Woman Healed (Matt 9:18-26) - consider the degrees of faith of the ruler and the hemorrhaging woman.
Giver of Good Gifts (Matt 7:7-11)
A Few Questions to Ponder:
What miracles has God worked in your life, or the lives of those close to you?
When have you invited him into your ordinary, mundane worries and allowed him to show his love for you by doing the impossible? How did he answer?
What are some small worries that frequently plague you? How can you take those to God’s School of Trust?
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Stephanie Engelman spent the first decades of her life as a very lukewarm Christian, but quickly caught fire for Christ when she was called home to the Catholic Church. That fire led her to write a best-selling Catholic young adult novel titled A Single Bead, a story of faith awakened by prayer. Stephanie is a wife and mother to five children, whose lives changed drastically last November when her husband suffered a near-fatal heart attack and subsequent serious brain injury. Stephanie blogs about faith, foibles, and the struggles of adapting to life following brain injury at www.afewbeadsshort.com