The Promise of Possibility

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

“Nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37).

In one of his sermons Walt Gerber mentioned a plaque hanging on his wall:

Walt, Do not feel totally, personally,
irrevocably responsible for everything.
That’s my job! Love, God!

That caught my eye because it reminds me of the principle I've called the First Rule of the Spiritual Life: "He's God and we're not." If you understand that truth, then you don't have to take on impossible burdens only God could handle anyway.

In the movie "Rudy" there is a scene where the young man despairs of ever making the Notre Dame football team. He is too small, too slow, too weak, and in every way fails to meet the challenge. Totally discouraged, he goes to a priest and asks if he will ever make the team. The priest smiles and says that in 35 years he has learned only two things for certain: "First, there is a God, and second, I’m not him."

Today is December 15. In a few days we will celebrate the central miracle of the Christian faith: the birth of Jesus Christ. Theologians call this the "Incarnation"--which means "to take the form of human flesh." Skeptics and unbelievers have attacked our faith at precisely this point—the notion that God could ever become a man, much less a baby. 

But that’s precisely what happened at Bethlehem. To quote the words of Charles Wesley (from “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”):

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity.

Either you believe that, or you don't.  If you don't, then Christmas is just another day to you. But if you do believe that then you shouldn't have trouble believing anything else the Bible says. 

Many of us approach the end of the year with a heavy load of worries about the future. There are career questions, health issues, family problems, financial difficulties, and a host of unfulfilled dreams. We wonder if next year will simply mean more of the same. Sometimes we feel everything depends on us and we are "totally personally, irrevocably responsible for everything.”

Christmas reminds us God is God and we're not. He can arrange for a virgin to become pregnant. He can cause a Roman emperor to order a census at precisely the right moment in history. He can ensure the baby will be born at exactly the place prophesied 700 years earlier. He can bring together angels, shepherds and Wise Men to celebrate that miraculous birth. And he can take a tiny baby born in a stable and make that baby the Savior of the world.

Now if God can do all that, what are you so worried about? 

 Almighty God, increase my faith so that I might believe without wavering that you are greater than all my problems. Amen.

Musical bonus: I hope you enjoy this up-tempo version of Somebody Talkin’ About Jesus by Chanticleer.

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Originally published December 15, 2018.

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