When the Impossible Gives Way to the Possible

We all face times when a challenge seems impossible don’t we?  No matter what we do it’s simply not enough?  And no matter the support, we’re left feeling alone.

In this story, we’ve been looking at, Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water.

So often pastors focus on Peter’s subsequent failure.

Yet, Peter was the one who experienced the miracle wasn’t he?  Though he stumbled he experienced the miracle of the impossible giving way to the possible.

Another part of the story I find interesting is the storm didn’t immediately subside.

Frankly, sometimes our storms don’t either.  Often this is the hardest part.

Sometimes we find our way out of the storm by heading in a new direction.  God solves the problem not the way we expect or even ask but in a completely different way.

The disciples expected Jesus to instantaneously calm the storm as he had before.  Yet this time Jesus had a different miracle in mind.

That night Jesus planned two miracles.

If the disciples had gotten their wish they’d have missed one of them which literally changed everyone that night.  A miracle that gave them confidence for the challenges ahead.  An answer far better than what they asked.

So when we look for what God has promised and then pray with boldness for that, God can unleash his miracle working power.  But he does it in his way.  Then the impossible gives way to the possible.

 

(Matthew 14: 28-29)

How to See the Impossible Made Possible

We’ve all faced an impossible challenge haven’t we?  No matter what we try it’s not enough and it leaves us scared and frustrated.

So what do we do?

A story of the disciples and Jesus gives a clue.

The disciples are sailing across the Sea of Galilee at night.  Suddenly they’re caught in a ferocious storm.  The wind shreds their sails.  Waves swamp the boat.  Each one remembers friends they’ve lost in these storms.

Suddenly Jesus appears walking on the water to them and says, “Don’t be afraid.”  A bit of an understatement don’t you think?

Peter cries out, “Lord is it you?”

Probably the most important question we can ask.  “Lord are you there?  Do you hear me?  Are you with me?”  We all wonder at times.  So go ahead and ask.  It’s ok.

Second, he says, “Lord tell me to come to you.”

Peter didn’t say, “Lord, I’m climbing out of the boat so hold me up.”  Or “Jesus if you want to calm the storm you can.”

No Peter asks for a promise.  The same way we need to look for what God has promised us in his word.

Then Jesus says, “Come.”

So Peter, out of faith in Jesus’ offer, climbs out of the boat and starts walking to him on the water.  No second guessing.  No hesitation.

Once he had the promise he acted on it.

I wonder how many impossibilities we face would crumble if we did the same?

 

(Matthew 14: 28-29)

Quora Post: “What is the Best Marriage Advice You Could Give?”

I’m over at Quora today answering that question.

Let’s be honest, after you’ve been married for several years some of the new car smell can wear off. I mean, you drift into the same routine every day and begin to wonder,“What happened to all the excitement?”. . . .”

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When You’re Trapped in the Impossible

We’ve all been trapped in the impossible haven’t we?  Blindsided by a problem beyond our capabilities to solve?

A marriage that implodes and your spouse just won’t reconcile.

A health crisis the doctors can’t figure out how to cure.

Your career or business evaporates and you simply can’t replace it.

You feel stuck, frustrated, scared and maybe more than a little angry at the situation and God.

Maybe you’re there right now.

Often we respond by finally giving in.  “It’s not my fault.  There’s nothing I can do.  I can’t solve this.  It’s impossible.”

Our friends and family empathize.  We ask for prayer on Facebook.  We’re put on the church prayer list.

And you know, those feelings may be honest and the support appreciated.  But it still doesn’t solve the challenge does it?

Perhaps if you’re part of a charismatic church then you’re told, “Just have more faith.  Pray boldly.  Tell God exactly what you want and when you want it.”

Yet, sometimes that doesn’t work either does it?

Then we’re left feeling not only frustrated but isolated.  It seems like I’m the only one God doesn’t answer those kinds of prayers for.

I’ve lived through both experiences.  Heck, I occasionally still do.

But what if I said there’s a third way that threads between those two approaches?  A way that leads to seeing God work the impossible?

Take hope.  A path leads out of the darkness.

We’ll look further at this next time.

Finding Peace and Power in the Midst of Life’s Storms

Fear in the midst of a life storm can be the worst part can’t it?  Sure the challenge is tough but the worry and fear can be debilitating.

In this story we looked at previously Jesus’ disciples are caught in the midst of a ferocious storm at night on the Sea of Galilee.  They’re about to capsize when Jesus comes walking to them on the water.

He hasn’t calmed the storm, it’s still raging.

Yet, he says to them, “Take courage.”  What he tells us as well.

Then before the storm slackens he offers them and us one of his greatest gifts.

He says, “Don’t be afraid.  I’m with you.”

Suddenly everything changes.

The storm still rages.  The boat is still being swamped.  But suddenly things are different.

Jesus is there with them in the same way he’s with us in the midst of our storms.

Jesus never promised we wouldn’t go through storms.  But he did promise we wouldn’t go through them alone.

We can sense his presence.  Hear his quiet inner voice.  See him working in the midst.

Then that brings us his peace.

Frankly, often the fear of what may come is the worst part of the storm isn’t it?  Jesus simply says, “Don’t be afraid.”

When the disciples focused on Jesus rather than the storm they found that peace and power they so desperately needed.

The same peace and power we can find.

 

*Matthew 14: 24-26

Quora Post: “Is There Life After Death?”

I’m at Quora today answering this question:

“A friend told me about his death.

He suffered a massive stroke then heard the emergency room personnel say, ‘He won’t make it'”. . . .

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How to Face Down a Storm of Life

We all get blindsided by storms in life don’t we?  Everything is running along smoothly when suddenly we’re swept up in a storm beyond our control and ability to solve?

In the story we looked at previously the disciples are in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, sailing at night when a nor’easter swoops down on them unexpectedly.  They’re struggling in a gale worried about joining their friends who’d lost their lives in the same situation.

Yet, just when it seems bleakest Jesus comes walking to them on the water.

Interestingly though the storm keeps raging.  Jesus didn’t immediately calm it.

Perhaps they had something to learn.  Perhaps we do too?

Jesus said to them, “Take courage.  Don’t be afraid.  It’s me.”

First, take on courage.

See at this point we have a choice.  We can thrash around in fear or we can choose to rest in God’s power.  We can choose to expect God to act or we can choose to let the storm overpower us.

Second, we do this by focusing on Jesus.  Look at him instead of the storm.  Trust him that he can calm the storm.

Third, look for God’s answer.

The disciples almost missed seeing Jesus.  They thought he was a ghost.  They weren’t expecting him.

How often does God come to calm the storms in our lives yet in a surprising way that we don’t expect?

Then he took power over the storm and subdued it.  Just as he will for us.

 

*Matthew 14: 24-26

Quora Post: What Life Lessons are Counter-intuitive or Go Against Common Sense or Wisdom?

I’m over at Quora today answering this question:

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Are You In the Midst of a Storm?

We all go through storms in life don’t we?  Maybe you’re in the midst of one right now.

Our dreams are being crushed.  Life spins out of control.  And there just seems to be no answer.

That’s what I love about this story of Jesus and his disciples.

The disciples had just finished a day watching Jesus perform miracles.  Now they’re sailing across the Sea of Galilee on a star lit night relaxed in the afterglow.

Suddenly one of the notorious nor’easters hits them.  Winds whip their sails.  Waves crash over the bow.

They’re terrified.  Each one knew someone who’d drowned in one of these common ferocious storms.

Their thinking, “Why me?  Why did we ever take off?  Why didn’t we just stay on land tonight?”

That’s the often the worst part of the storm isn’t it?  The second guessing, the rehashing our decisions.

Now they can do only so much.  They’re sailing into the wind and making little headway.  They’re bailing water but not keeping up with the waves crashing over the side.

Everything they know just isn’t enough.  And they’re exhausted.

Ever felt that way?  You’ve tried everything you know but it just isn’t working this time.  And now you’re exhausted and bewildered.

Yet, in the darkest hour of that night, when all seems lost, Jesus comes.

He tells them to take courage.  What he tells us to do as well in the storms of our lives.

 

*Matthew 14: 24-26

What a Re-energized Life Looks Like

The pressures of everyday life can crush us at times can’t they?  And they can leave us feeling despondent if we’re not careful.

From a story we looked at last time, we see even Jesus became worn out. So he slipped away often to be alone with God and his own thoughts.*

See I think as a man he struggled with the same things we struggle with.  So the results in his life encourage me.

First, he gained direction from God.

When we’re tune in we can discover the next steps to solving the confusing puzzles we face.

He found rest.

When we’re absolutely bone tired exhausted we can find the rest we need.  Sometimes just being able to slow down and decompress is huge.

He felt God’s presence continually.

Frankly, sensing God’s presence in the midst of the crush is one of the greatest blessings we can receive.

He was restored in strength.

Even when we’re spent we can come back with strength.  We may feel whipped today but that’s not the end of the story.  Strength and power can return for a new day.

He saw God’s power work in miraculous ways.

He offers us that same power.  So should we expect to see anything less?

And he found peace.  Perhaps he grew despondent at times as well.

But peace sneaks back in.  The strength and confidence to go back out and continue on returns.

Have you found the same?

 

*Matthew 14: 22-23