Only Believe


Surprising Christmas verse


Written by ANDRÉE SEU

December 22, 2011, 8:22 AM

One of my favorite Christmas verses is not traditionally Christmassy:

“For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

The reference is to the birth of John the Baptist to a woman past childbearing age. And just think of how much greater an impossibility Gabriel asked Mary to swallow (and yet she believed) than he asked Elizabeth’s husband, Zacharias (and yet he doubted). If conception after menopause is impossible, at least Elizabeth had a husband. How about conception without a male sperm donor? If being told your child will be a prophet is huge, imagine being told your son will be the Messiah.

The Lord loves it when we believe that He can do impossible things. There is no evidence in the Bible of anyone ever out-believing or out-asking God. There is not a single instance where God had to gently rebuke someone for believing too high or too hard a thing from Him. Rather, there are many instances of Jesus being astonished by outsized faith, and God showing disappointment when someone chickened out.

For example, Jesus seemed tickled when Peter rather impulsively asked if he could walk on the water with Him. “Come,” Jesus invited, and I can picture him stretching out his hands, not unlike the father of a toddler about ready to take his or her first steps. And He seemed a bit deflated when Peter’s faith in doing the impossible wavered after a few steps:

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)

To “doubt,” then, seems to be when we look at contrary factors, to regard Satan’s lying signs (the boisterousness of the wind in verse 30).

In fact, you might get an interesting Bible study out of going through Scripture and finding all the people who delighted God and were commended for believing something that was humanly outrageous and that other people laughed at. “What? Build an ark? What’s ‘rain’?” Or, “That pipsqueak up against a 9-foot-six-inch-tall Philistine? I’ll believe it when I see it.”

What are the “impossible” things in your life? Your marriage? Your personality problems? Your addiction? Your past regrets? Your losses? You might want to confess to God, out loud: “Lord, I believe your Word over my theories about what is impossible. I believe your power over any circumstance. I commit this impossible situation to you—because you are the one who said, ‘For nothing will be impossible with God.”