Friday, June 29, 2012

Do the Impossible

Sometimes, a little phrase will set off a whole line of reflection...

This morning, I sat down with my journal and opened it up to just see what I would hear and record.  The previous entry caught my attention, and I read it over before I began today's listening.  It was a note from a message I'd heard that contained an application of the miracle at the temple in which Jesus healed the guy with the withered hand.

Suddenly, the phrase stretch out your hand jumped out at me, and I realized that Jesus was continually asking people to do things they could not do.  The man with the withered hand was one such individual; so were the multiple paralytics that he told to get up and walk; so were the lepers, who were instructed to go into the city and show themselves to the priests; so was Peter, when instructed to climb out of the boat and walk on the water.

He simply spoke to them and told them what to do.  He didn't call down the power of God, or prophesy loudly or even anoint them with oil. He looked at them and instructed them and that was it. He did nothing at all to give them any reason to think anything had changed.  Then it was up to each of them to do what He said or not.

Every one of those individuals could've looked at Jesus and said something like, 'Are you kidding?  What do you mean, get up and walk (or stretch out my hand or climb out of the boat or go into the town)!  I can't do that!'

The rich young ruler had that response.  Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor and spend his life following Jesus...and the young fellow went away sad, because he believed he could not do that.

And who knows how many others Jesus spoke to in a similar fashion, who rolled their eyes at Him and refused to try the thing He told them to do, whose stories are not recorded?

But we do see the people who did not let their limitations define the actions of God in their lives.  Who began moving in the instructed manner and who found that, as they undertook what He told them to do, they had the ability to do it.

What is God telling me to do that my natural inclination is to respond, 'I can't do that! '?  
How can I learn to respond by trying instead of by denying?

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