“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” – Matthew 19:23-26
How many times have you heard a child asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and heard an outlandish response? “I want to be a cowboy!” “I want to be an astronaut!” “I want to be a dinosaur!” And of course there are smiles and fond glances, and then they’re gently told that they can’t. It’s not possible. Now, what would they really like to be?
The thing is, it’s absolutely, 100% possible for a child to grow up to be a cowboy. All kinds of people work on ranches, drive cattle, work rodeos and Wild West holiday parks. Your kid can definitely be an astronaut, if she works hard and follows the right career path. Perhaps she can’t actually be a dinosaur, but if she loves them that much, the field of paleontology is wide open for young inquiring minds. All of these things are possible for a child, given some encouragement and a helping hand in the right direction. We’re just conditioned to tell ourselves that our dreams won’t come true.
The world loves to apply limits to anything and everything it can. It’s a default setting—we’re told from a very young age that some things won’t work, some things can’t happen. Some things just aren’t possible. We’re forced to accept limitations imposed by others, because others imposed limitations upon them, and then we’re trained to accept those limitations as though they were our own idea. There’s no speed limit that works quite as well as one that you choose yourself, after all.
And because negativity is contagious, we’ll find ourselves reinforcing the same negativity in the lives of others, just as was done to us. The fact is that we come from a world where to be ‘realistic’ is defined as setting conditions and roadblocks on what is possible. Reaching for a dream job or a longed-for lifestyle, is seen as hopeless behavior, behavior that needs correcting if that person is to have a happier life—but when we say ‘happier’, what we mean is leveled out, content to follow the same road as people have before us. That’s how roads are made after all, right? Enough people follow the same path that it becomes a track, then a road, and then a freeway. Six lanes of traffic crawling in one direction…that’s the world’s idea of how we should all be living our lives.
Jesus said, “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). The word possible is a fantastic one, but sadly one that’s been co-opted by pessimists masquerading as pragmatists the world over. The word remains almost unchanged from the Latin it originally came from, possibilis, literally meaning ‘what can be done.’ In the original Latin, it has connotations of power, of capability, of capacity—the ability to accomplish. Fifteen hundred years of linguistic evolution have changed some words out of all recognition, but here all we had to do was remove hope from the equation. Nowadays the word possible has connotations of resignation, of doubt. It’s mostly used in sentences like “it just wasn’t possible”, or “is it really possible?” Then there’s the flat statement, “that’s impossible,” which we’ll use left, right and center, about anything, to anyone. We’re trained to do it, and it’s terribly sad, because to declare something possible is to declare that it can be done. It’s empowering to decide that something is possible. It says something about us when we say YES, I can do that, and it raises the spirit, not just in us, but in those around us…because the natural response when someone turns to you and says YES, I can do that is to smile and reply, That’s great!
But as good as that is for us, as powerful as that makes us feel, and as uplifting as that can be for the people around us to experience, nothing—absolutely nothing—is as empowering as deciding that something you thought couldn’t be done can be done after all. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, to flip the switch on the negativity that we’re conditioned into from childhood, and to declare the impossible possible.
God’s been telling us that for a long, long time though. Luke 1:37 says, “for nothing will be impossible with God.” In his letters to the Philippians, chapter 4 verse 13, Paul says “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Jesus says in Matthew 17:20 ““For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”” But nowhere was Christ more definitive about the idea than in Mark 10.
A rich and terribly pious young man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to attain eternal life. Jesus tells him he’s doing everything right, and that the time had come to give away all of his earthly possessions and come and follow Him… and of course the young man can’t bear the idea of poverty, of giving everything away, and so went away sorrowful but loaded. Jesus exclaims to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!” and promptly flabbergasted His friends, as often tended to happen. You see, the dominant teaching of the day had it that accruing wealth in life was a sign of divine blessing, meaning that the rich were more likely to enter Heaven than the poor (an entirely ungodly concept that the rich have nonetheless been trying to impress upon people for thousands of years). But Christ told them a different story, explaining that you cannot earn your way into Heaven on your own merits. You can’t buy your way into the Kingdom (after all, it’s not Congress). And when they asked, rather worried, “who then can be saved?” Jesus replied “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
The power of possibility is a gift from God to us via Christ. He puts us into Christ in order that we can exist in a state of grace, a state that comes with incredible favor attached to it, and in that place, everything is attainable, anything can be achieved. All is possible. When God gives us a promise, He releases us from logic into the realm of imagination—we don’t get to sit there and worry about whether it can be done, how likely it really is that it can be accomplished, how many have tried and failed. We don’t get to ask, Is it possible?” Instead we announce, “It is possible!” seeing beyond the problem to the fulfillment of the promise, because a promise from our Father in Heaven means a guaranteed outcome, empowering us to walk the steps towards freedom and realization.
That’s why God loves our impossibilities so much. He adores the moment when He can step into our helplessness and hopelessness and make that promise to us. It announces His presence in the very circumstances that should be conspiring to cause us unbelief. The joy we feel when the unthinkable becomes imaginable is lived vicariously by our Father a thousandfold.
On the day of Pentecost, God issued a statement of intent to the entire world, causing an outpouring of the Spirit that made it possible for people to access His Kingdom through prophecy, visions and dreaming. It was a game-changing moment in history, the final piece of the New Covenant that had begun with the birth of His Son, the unveiling of the new reality of being in Christ—and as Peter pointed out that day, it was the fulfillment of a promise made to the prophet Joel several centuries earlier:
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth…” – Joel 2:28-30.
Even the gifts of prophecy, vision and dreaming given to the Church at the moment of its birth, the same gifts that help us to bypass our natural mindset to access the supernatural, were themselves the outcome of a promise. The principles of faith that allow us to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and not to lean on our own flawed understanding, were themselves the resolution of prophecy.
The promises and prophecies from the Spirit in your own lives will tell you who God wants to be for you. They contain the power needed to lift you into a different realm of possibility in life, to gain a powerful sense of God’s presence. Focus on the promise and on the guaranteed outcome contained within that promise, and allow yourself to be empowered by it. Nothing is impossible. Dream the possible dream.
“(im)possible” by Niklas Morberg licensed by CC 2.0