God And The Impossible

At Christmas, it’s more common to talk about Jesus as a little baby, as the Incarnate Christ who came to humble living circumstances, even noting that putting on flesh was perhaps the most humble of circumstances that He faced. But all the while, we kind of forget that Jesus, as God, rules and reigns supreme.

One of the mysteries of the trinity is Christ’s “dual identity.” He is God and He is a baby in a manger, wrapped up in cloths, and in all likelihood, fast asleep when a group of shepherds stop by.

How can this be?

Well, the Trinity, Christ’s divinity, are not the first hard things that confront us mortals. There’s prayer and how it “works,” free will and how it co-exists with God’s sovereignty, creation and the whole idea of speaking everything into existence from nothing.

Atheists often think Christians are fools, as if we don’t see the difficulty in these beliefs. Ironically many atheists also claim that Christianity came out of the imagination of some humans who simply made it all up.

Made it up?! Who would think up some idea of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit actually being One? Crazy talk. Anybody who can count can read that sentence and arrive at three, not one. But no. The Bible is clear. Jesus said He and the Father are One.

And the God-Man thing? Really? Jesus had two natures? Well, no, but kind of, yes. So He had a split nature? Definitely no. Then what? Well, all God and all man, but not two. Uh, the math isn’t adding up again.

This makes no logical sense, the atheist says. Which does call into question the idea that some finite mortal dreamed it up. Wouldn’t it seem more likely that if someone was coming up with a new religion, they make it seem clear and reasonable and easy to grasp? That’s what I’d do.

But instead we have a God who is both just and merciful, Judge and Savior, King and carpenter. How can this be?

There’s really only one way. All these claims can only be true if God is more than we are. If He is transcendent. If He can do the impossible.

And as it happens, that’s precisely what the Bible says about Him. The statement comes as part of the pre-Christmas story.

An angel appeared to the not-yet-married young girl living in Nazareth to tell her that she was going to have a baby, that this boy “will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Just one problem, Mary said. I’m a virgin. She was not some dumb brunette, that one. She understood all about how babies were made.

No worries, the angel responded. God’s power is at work here. And just so you know, your cousin Elizabeth, who is barren, who is past childbearing years, she’s pregnant. Has been for six months. Because, you see, Mary, “nothing will be impossible with God.”

So, if nothing is impossible with God, what in the Bible does not make perfect sense? A cataclysmic world wide flood? Yes, God can do that. Stopping a river and making a dry path to the other side? God can do that too. Closing the mouths of hungry lions? Yes, that’s on the list of impossible that God can do.

If nothing will be impossible with God, the most logical position to take is that some impossible things are going to take place.

Mary got that right away. Her response was, I’m God’s servant. I’ll do whatever you say. She accepted the impossible. She wasn’t pinching herself or trying to wake up. She wasn’t questioning what bit of bad cheese had she eaten the night before.

Granted, later she would have her moments of uncertainty when Jesus began His public ministry, but there, before His birth, she knew—God’s in charge, and I’m not. His ways are not my ways. And I’m not going to pretend mine are better. Because He, not I, can do the impossible.

Published in: on December 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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Thoughts about the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference

I first went to Mount Hermon in 2004. For those of you who may not know, this is actually a small town in Northern California, very near Santa Cruz, which is south of San Francisco.

For the record, Northern California is about as different from SoCal as Nevada is. Sure there is the coast, but it’s a different look, not all beachy like the south. And there are mountains (not serious ones like the Rockies or the Sierras, but much like the San Gabriel Mountains I see out my window every day), but these are covered with Redwood trees. (So the mountains may not be serious, but the trees most definitely are! 😉 )

Driving up the mountain into the Mount Hermon Christian Conference grounds makes me feel like I’m entering another world—rich fodder for a fantasy writer, I assure you.

Back in 2004 I made the trip by bus at night to Santa Cruz, then hung around with a large homeless population until the Conference shuttle came to collect me. That was all pretty interesting too. It reminded me of the summer I took a bus to Mexico City, but that’s another story.

I remember that first year going to the Writer’s Conference I was nervous. I mean, I knew no one. Well, almost. Two members of my critique group were going also, but we had never met. Then there were the editors and agents to talk to, and I felt I had to get it all right or I just might miss my opportunity.

Fortunately a very kind, experienced member of an online writers’ group answered a lot of my pre-conference questions. And God was gracious. I hit it off with both women from my crit group, met lots of other writers, learned good things, especially from Brandilyn Collins and Randy Ingermanson who were teaching a fiction track (a series of workshops totaling something like eight hours).

Oddly enough, one of the things I came away from that conference thinking was that I’d some day like to teach a session or two. I mean, it seemed natural, being as I’ve been a teacher all my adult life … well, until I became a full time writer. But first, you’ve got to earn some credibility, which for writers comes largely by publishing something.

And here I am, an unknown, first-time author, writing a genre unpopular with CBA houses. Uh, writing a trilogy, no less—the old-fashioned, epic kind, with each individual book not standing alone. With a male protagonist. These are things I have come to learn are … difficulties when it comes to finding a publisher.

But here’s the thing. In these past four years, as I continue to write and continue to pursue publication, I have come to realize in a deeper way that God is able. He brought the walls of Jericho down, not Joshua. He gave the victory to Gideon’s band of 300. He brought prisoner Joseph out of the dungeon and made him second in command to Pharaoh. And on and on.

So here’s a surprise, but not really, because of who God is. It looks as if I’ll have a tiny part in a blogging seminar at Mount Hermon this year. Yep, I’m still unpublished, and you can’t really call this teaching, but it’s closer than I thought possible at this stage of my career. That’s the thing, though—God isn’t limited to what we think is possible.

Much more important than me trying to figure out what “right” is for editors and agents is my trust in our God Who Is Able. He walks with me through the prep for this conference, and He will be present at every conversation I have. What does He have in mind for those encounters? I have no idea, and I don’t need to know. And certainly I don’t need to try to finagle or engineer something to happen, as if I can pull off something He might not have thought of. More than likely, the reverse is true! 😉

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 11:50 am  Comments (10)  
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