by Anita Miles
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Several years ago, I was spending a rare relaxing evening at home reading, while my husband, Jeremy, piddled around the house. In an instant, the high-pitched noises of a revving and speeding motorcycle pierced through the neighborhood. As quickly as they had begun, the sounds dissipated.
The clamor that Jeremy created in the next few seconds makes me laugh out loud to remember. I was confident that by the time he got to where he was heading, every door he bolted through would only have half of its hinges left, and the walls along the way would need patching. In his haste, he was tripping over every invisible thing that didn’t exist in the hall. He was yelling and desperate to find me for help after the driver of the motorcycle had laid his bike down at break neck speeds in the 90 degree curve that ran in front of our house. The young man and his bike had finally slid to a stop underneath Jeremy’s truck that sat parked in our driveway.
The memory of those initial moments of pure adrenaline and chaos for the both of us is somewhat the feeling that comes over me when I read the first chapter of Luke. (The chapter that usually only gets brought up around Christmas where Zachariah and Mary are visited by Gabriel who announces to them the MAJOR life changes that are about to be!!) There are so many details that are crammed into that one chapter!! I want to hold my hand out to slow the writer down in the hurried nature of it all and say, “Ok Dr. Luke...one scene at a time…I can’t wrap my brain around it all...you’re telling the story way too fast!! For someone like me, whose imagination runs wild, it can get a little overwhelming! At least it doesn’t take long to arrive at my favorite part of the story - the moment when Mary and Elisabeth come face to face!
The bond of their friendship doesn’t even have to be noted or explained!! It just BURSTS with evidence throughout every line and the thought of it just makes my heart smile BIG!! As a side note, I think every woman should need and know a friendship such as theirs. Someone who can celebrate your joys with you, but isn’t afraid or intimidated to share your pain in your sorrows! If you don’t have a friend such as that, I encourage you to go back to last week’s post on how to find one! :-)
The experience of their face to face encounter is the sum total of a lifetime of roller coaster emotions from every party. From my perceptions, those emotions include, but are not limited to:
Disappointed expectations and hopes on Zachariah and Elisabeth’s part - until Gabriel’s visitation with Zachariah;
Zachariah’s doubt and new ”curse” of being mute;
Elisabeth’s attempt at wrapping her dazed mind around the fact that the life she had sadly grown to accept, will happily and inconceivably never be the same;
Mary’s amazement at the visitation from Gabriel and the declaration that she, in her lowly state, would bring the LONG awaited Messiah into the world…
I mean can you REALLY imagine that moment??
In my mind, there were probably more hugs and tears than you could shake a stick at - not to mention the completely overwhelming sense of wonder that this could all actually be happening!! And then it’s like the cherry on the top that, in the blur of the action, Elisabeth feels her Baby John leap within her as she is filled with the Holy Ghost upon merely hearing Mary’s voice. As one man said, “it was THE moment in time when “what was” and “what will be” collided…”
Every single miraculous event in this one chapter is wrapped up tightly and delivered by one promise that Gabriel left Mary with - “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”
On a personal level, I would like to think that I truly believe God is able to do anything - and I say that I do!! This chapter inspires my faith to soar to immeasurable heights, but where do I really stand when it’s all said and done? I’m afraid there are times that I, unfortunately and unconsciously, seek God like Zacharias. I feel pity for him because, although Gabriel made it blatantly clear that God had heard a lifetime of his prayers for his wife to have a child, Zachariah struggled with the fact that Gabriel had nothing visible to prove what was to come!
The consequence of his unbelief was his mute state until after John the Baptist was born. You have to wonder how many times Zachariah wished he could go back to that spot where he stood face to face with God’s messenger and take back the request that he needed proof of the promises of God! Because of his doubts, he was forced to forfeit the experience of communicating with his beloved Elisabeth as God completely re-invented the life they had come to know.
To bring the entire myriad of circumstances to an applicable state for 2018, I ask us to take a look at our own lives with as much vulnerability as the reactions of these characters.
Do we subconsciously offer every excuse in the book to ourselves as to why God couldn’t possibly answer our prayers? If so, we unwittingly allow doubt to become the driver of our prayers.
Zachariah thought he could reasonably argue that it was impossible for his prayer to be answered because he and Elisabeth were too old for this type of miracle. I think that we excuse ourselves at times from what could be an answered prayer because of what our circumstances have become...
I could propose an endless list of things we could petition God to change or intervene in, but the shadow of “what is,” is so much bigger than what we dare to go up against in the privilege of prayer!
God has told us to come before Him boldly!! If we are intent on having our prayers answered, sometimes we may have to have a nose to nose face off with what reality stands in our way! Are we brave enough to pray for what is glaringly impossible in our strength?
Do you have a family member that has reached the depths of sin and the reality of the situation is so overwhelming, it cripples the ability to believe it could be any different? Have you grown to sadly accept that your spouse is content to live in his sin and you conclude that it is what it is? Has a doctor’s diagnosis all but put the light of hope out in your eyes and heart? Do you have a marriage that has suffered severe damage after life has slammed it time and time again against the jagged rocks in the storm? Do your children break your heart because they have walked away from the truth that you did all you knew to instill in them - and then built a wall of defense that dares you to attempt getting through? Is your family unit so dysfunctional that there’s not a chance in this world that you’ll ever know what it is to be “normal?” Maybe you are attempting to sell a house in the midst of a housing slump or crisis where you are! Ugh! Or maybe you feel helpless in a job situation! These are only a small handful of scenarios that could be clouding your ability to see God work out the impossible. You can add to the list whatever your situation may be. It could be something that only you and God know!
Across the top of the pages that list my petitions in my prayer journal, I have written one of my favorite scriptures: Ecclesiastes 11: 4-5...“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
Keep praying, Sister!
In the moments that reality begins to overshadow your hopes, don’t observe the direction the wind is blowing - it will contaminate your prayers with unbelief.
Disregard how gloomy and dark the clouds hovering overhead are, or you’ll not reap the harvest of what you seek from the Almighty. We do not know the ways of the Spirit nor the works of God, but...in DUE SEASON we will reap, if we faint not!
In the desires we bring before the Lord, may we wait expectantly for the moment that “what was” and “what will be” collide.
The mere possibility of that occasion, my friend, makes a prayer for the impossible worth praying!