Neutralizing Impossibility in a Word

Praying for known needs can be difficult at times. This is especially true when the need is acute or there is a deep emotional connection to the need and things don’t seem to be changing. I’ve experienced this both prior to pastoral work and during it, and it can make trust challenging.

But praying and seeking God for unknown things is entirely next-level on the scale of difficulty. Not only are there the normal challenges of prayer in general, but I don’t have a specific “thing” to pray for. So I’m just in the middle of these sessions of seeking God and I find myself fighting my own tendency to drift, to create to-do lists, or to be ironically distracted by praying for the needs that I have details about.

I was working through Luke 1 this morning on my drive to the office and I went away from the usual ESV translation that I typically use. I opted for the New Living today, and the way that verse 37 was translated was so nourishing. 

In the ESV Luke 1:37 beautifully says: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

But in the NLT the same verse reads: “For the word of God will never fail.”

I’ve always loved this word that the angel speaks over Mary’s moment of calling and purpose. “Nothing will be impossible with God.” How powerful to be reminded by an angel of the thematic center of all the Hebrew stories that Mary would have heard throughout her young life. Now that she was becoming a part of the grand narrative of God’s work in the earth, she was told, “God can do anything, which means He can do this.”

I love it.

In the NLT the translation says the same thing only it shifts the focus from a general sense of God’s sovereignty over the world to the focused reality of God’s intimate presence in Mary’s life.

Yes, nothing is impossible with God. But the God for whom nothing is impossible also speaks directly into your life.

Yes, nothing is impossible with God. But the God for whom nothing is impossible also speaks directly into your life.

And the word that has been spoken, though at times hard to understand and nearly impossible to comprehend, will not – can not – fail precisely because it’s been spoken by the God for whom nothing is impossible.

There is a relationship between impossibility and God’s sovereignty over impossibility. And the point of connection between those two places is the word of God. What God decrees – the creative word He speaks over a moment, over a person, over a nation or over anything at all – happens without fail, and the level of perceived difficulty for the accomplishment of that decree is irrelevant to the discussion because there is literally nothing that God cannot do and nothing that cannot be accomplished by the decree, or revelation, of His word.

So I was reminded this morning in my own prayer direction in this season.

Praying for God-only-knows-what is tough at times. But one word from the God who is sovereign even over impossibility creates momentum that cannot be stopped by anyone or anything. And this is the God who not only will speak a word of vision into my soul but who has spoken a word hunger to seek for that vision. Which means the word of hunger and desire in my soul will not fail, just like the word of vision that is coming also will not fail. “For the word of God will never fail.”

I am grateful for the Text. 

I am infinitely more grateful for the Author.

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