On Serving the God of the Impossible…

For years I had a quote on my desk that said, “What are you doing today that proves that you serve the God of the impossible?” I have managed to lose the piece of paper and, therefore, the name of the original author. But it is still a question that resonates.

Corrie and Betsy ten Boom were middle-aged spinsters from Holland when they were imprisoned in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany.
They were not Jews.
They were Christ-followers who, along with their elderly father, built a secret room in their home to shelter Jews and help get them to safety.
They were discovered.
Imprisoned.
Treated brutally.
Their father died before ever reaching the camps.
Betsy died while in the camp.
But not before she and Corrie started a Bible study in their barracks, leading many women to Christ in a place where He appeared to be impotent. They had a Bible because God hid it from the guards when they were stripped naked and paraded before them on the way to the showers. And, while the guards would never have allowed such meetings to take place, their barracks had a flea infestation. So the guards stayed away. And the sisters became lights in unimaginable darkness.
Corrie was released from the camp. It was a clerical error.
The next day, every woman in the camp her age was exterminated.
She went on to write many books and to speak around the world about the love of Jesus and forgiveness. She was reunited with her family in heaven at the age of 91.

“What are you doing today that proves that you serve the God of the impossible?”

Amy Carmichael served for 55-years as a missionary in India.
She never married, although she had several offers.
But marriage would have taken her away from the hundreds of children who called her “Amma”, or “Mother”.
They were the disposable children, often sold into slavery as temple prostitutes by their families, hoping to gain favor with one of the millions of Hindu gods or simply so the family could eat.
Amy rescued as many children as she could. They lived, laughed, learned and loved at Dohnavur, which she opened in 1901. It is still in operation today, 116 years later and 66 years after her death.
When Amy was in her 60’s she took a walk one evening to inspect some work being done on the grounds. In the darkness, she fell into a freshly-dug hole and severely injured her back, leaving her bedridden until her death two decades later. She was in extreme pain for much of that time. But she used her time in bed to write, publishing 16 books in addition to the dozens of others she had already penned.
She could have been bitter about many things.
Instead, she was a light in the darkness – and a light that continues to shine to this day.

“What are you doing today that proves you serve the God of the impossible?”

Those ladies are some of my heroes.
But there are other, more modern heroes that are living proof of a powerful God.

My friends who are laying down their lives to care for elderly parents.
A sister in Christ who walked away from a life of addiction and is now raising two beautiful Kingdom-centered kids.
The man who refused to allow the need for a kidney transplant to stop him from planting churches, including mine.
My friends who adopted from China, even though it was a risk financially and emotionally.
Other friends who have profoundly changed the lives of two children by fostering to adopt – while still ministering well to the four they already had.
The man I know who went to prison without God and was released on fire for the Kingdom, in a relationship with the Living God because his Mother loved him unconditionally.

And so many more.

Each story is about a frail, sinful, broken human being.
None of these people are spectacular in their own right.
They definitely have God-given gifts and abilities.
But each one is “a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow”.
Just like you.
Just like me.

The thing that stands out in each life is that they are willing to take God at His Word.
To be faithful and obedient, regardless of the circumstances.
To truly believe that they cannot out-give God in any way.
To live by His power rather than their own.
And to live this life like it is not all there is.
Seeking first the Kingdom of God instead of their own agenda.

In other words, they are choosing with a thousand little choices (and a few huge ones) to prove that they serve the God of the impossible.

How are you proving that today?

Are you sticking with your marriage that is in trouble, even though you would much rather walk?
Are you giving God the best parts of you, rather than the leftovers? Using your time, talent and treasure to further His Kingdom here on earth?
Are you choosing His Kingdom first by loving as He loved? Even that ridiculous co-worker or the person who infuriates you on social media?
Are you giving as He gave?
Are you simply being obedient on what feels like a never-ending journey? Doing the next thing, walking by faith even when your eyes are filled with tears?
Choosing to trust Him even when your circumstances say He has abandoned you? Living by faith rather than feelings?
Forgiving the unforgivable?
Setting up the schedule and rhythms of your life so that He is a priority?
Guarding what your eyes see, your ears hear and your tongue says?

None of these things are possible for you to do.
And that is a great thing.
Because if we could live this life the way He has called us to live it by our own strength, then we would get the glory.
But when we live our lives the way He has called us to live them, HE gets the glory.
Because then we can do the impossible.
Because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us. (Ephesians 1)
Because He specializes in using the weak to shame the strong. Making the broken, beautiful. (I Corinthians 1; Isaiah 61)
And using us in spite of ourselves.

When we live in the Truth that we serve a God who can do ANYTHING through a surrendered heart and obedient hands, the world gets changed for the better.
Because they see in you – in me – the God of the impossible.

So — what are you doing today that proves you serve the God of the impossible?

*************
If you want to read Corrie’s story, check out “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom and Elizabeth Sherrill and the sequel, “Tramp for the Lord”, also by Corrie.

To read more about Amy, check out “A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael” by Elisabeth Elliot.

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