Friday, August 20, 2010

Does God Ever Ask Us To Do the Impossible?

Feeding 5000Would God ever put you in an impossible situation? I’ve heard people say, “God will never ask me to do something I can’t do.” But I have seen that God allows His people to be in situations that are impossible so that we will learn to trust Him, to believe Him, to have faith in Him, to make Him known.
In Luke 9, as Jesus was teaching and healing, the disciples began to get nervous because they saw a huge problem developing. It was getting close to dinnertime and they were in a remote area with over 5000 hungry people. So they say to Jesus in verse 12, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But Jesus refused to send the crowd away. Jesus wants to teach a lesson.
I love Jesus’ statement in verse 13. He says, “You give them something to eat.” Can’t you just hear the disbelief of the disciples as they complained to each other, “What? US feed them? That’s impossible.” Exactly.
There were two big problems they faced that afternoon. One was obviously the lack of food. There were hungry people and no food to feed them. They said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people." They saw the problem as a lack of food, but there was another problem present that day, and it was a lack of faith.
In John’s Gospel, we are told Jesus knew exactly what He was going to do all along. He only said this to test the disciples. Didn’t you just love those school teachers who would start class by announcing, “Everyone clear off your desk except for one blank sheet of paper.” We all knew what was coming next: pop quiz. Jesus does the same thing for us today. When you face the very hardest times of your lives, it’s like God is saying, “Take out a blank sheet of paper. This is a test.”
The only question on God’s test is: DO YOU TRUST ME? The score on God’s test is not for His information; He already knows about our faith. It’s to show us our faith. God will allow your faith to be tested, not to shame you but to strengthen you. In James 1:2-3 we read: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH develops perseverance.”
Jesus was creating for His disciples what Henry Blackaby in His book "Experiencing God" calls a crisis of belief. Now there is no question that this was a God-sized assignment. This was way beyond their capability to accomplish and if the Lord did not intervene, they would fail and fall flat on their faces. The crisis of belief is a turning point, a fork in the road that demands a decision. You must decide what you believe about God and how you will respond to Him.
God uses these tests to develop our character, to make us more like Jesus. When you encounter a problem—whether it’s how to feed 5,000 people or how to deal with a difficult boss—Jesus wants you to respond in faith.
God gives me tasks and assignments that are far beyond my abilities and power in order to not only reveal Himself to me, but demonstrate His nature, His strength, His kindness and His provision to a watching world. People today need to see the super-naturally visible hand of God working in and through His disciples, so that when something happens there is no question that God had done it.
What impossible thing has God asked you to do?


  1. I was reading this passage last night. I looked at both instances where he fed thousands of people. In each case, he provided and the disciples did the leg work.

    God provides the miracle, but he wants us to take the miracle to the people.

  2. Kevin, The equation is simple: Jesus’ supernatural power added to our poverty equals plenty. When we respond in faith Jesus can work through us to accomplish what might seem impossible.

  3. I recently asked in a sermon, "When was the last time that you prayed a prayer that required God to show up in order to see the prayer answered?" We are becoming a Christian culture that is far too dependent on what we can plan and see through ourselves. God wants to move us into places and situations that require us to trust him to accomplish that which we cannot do on our own.

  4. Larry, That's right. If we only attempt things that we are sure we can accomplish, how will people know that God has acted in our situation? God gets the glory when He does impossible things through simple, faithful people.



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