Is Anything Possible?

December 16, 2011 — Leave a comment

Is Anything Possible?

No one is a bigger believer in possibilities than I am.  You can’t do the kind of work of a Marriage and Family Therapist for very long unless you believe in possibilities, that change can happen, that people can achieve an improved level of functioning.

Motivational speaker make fortunes by convincing people they can do what seems impossible.

Steve Jobs was not just an incredible innovator.  He was also able to convince people that his innovations could change their lives for the better.

One of my parents’ mantras, that I have often repeated, was, “You can do anything you want, if you put your mind to it and apply yourself.”

So what are the possibilities you are hoping for in your life?  A $100,000.00 a year salary?  That new four bedroom house?  Marriage?  Family?  A college degree?  A new job?  Deliverance from disease?

Is anything possible?

The Bible appears to support the conclusion that indeed anything is possible.  Phillipians 4:13 says, “I can do all things.”  Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask for or think.”  Jesus says in Mark 9:23, “All things are possible.”  A phrase that he repeats in Matthew 19:26.

There is a story in scripture about a man who tried to achieve the impossible.  His name was Balaam.  His story is found in Numbers 22.

Balak, who is the King of Moab, is terrified by the approaching army of Israel.  Because of Israel’s reputation of victory, Balak is convinced his army cannot defeat them.  He decides to call on Balaam, a famous prophet, to come and put a curse on Israel.

Being wise, Balaam consults with God to see what He would have him do.  God tells him to refuse the King’s request, which Balaam does.

Balak is not deterred by Balaam’s refusal.  He sends a second, more prestigious, delegation with an added offer of financial reward for Balaam, if he will place the curse on Israel.

Visions of gold and jewels fill Balaam’s heart.  Even though God has given his answer to Balaam, Balaam decides to ask again, hoping God will change his mind.

Mistakenly believing God has agreed to let him place a curse on Israel, Balaam saddles his donkey and heads to the King’s tents, accompanied by his servants and by officials of Balak.

As he journeys, God places an angel with a drawn sword in his path, hoping it will deter Balaam.  Balaam doesn’t see the angel, but his donkey does.  The donkey leaves the road and goes into a field.  Angered, Balaam beats his donkey and directs it back on the road to Moab.

God tries to get Balaam’s attention again when he has the angel stand in a narrow mountain pass.  Again, Balaam doesn’t share his donkey’s keen vision (maybe because he wasn’t looking for it).  The donkey tries to squeeze past the angel, causing Balaam’s foot to get mashed.

Now in pain and angry, too, Balaam beats his donkey again.  He gets back on the road to Balak.

A third time God puts the angel in Balaam’s path in such a position that there is no way for the donkey to pass.  The donkey, impossibly weary from how this journey has gone, decides to lay down with Balaam still astride him.

This time, incensed and possibly embarrassed at his inability to control a donkey, Balaam takes his staff and beats the donkey.

Suddenly, in what has to be one of the most comical scenes in Old Testament history, God allows the donkey to speak.  It says to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

Remarkably, Balaam doesn’t seem puzzled that his donkey is talking to him.  He actually talks back to his donkey.  “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

In the middle of this dialogue, God opens Balaam’s eyes to allow him to see the armed angel and also to see how foolishly he has behaved.

The reason God blocks Balaam’s path is because Balaam wanted to do what he wanted to do, not what God wanted him to do.

My point in all this is that I do not believe we can achieve everything we want to achieve.

But we can achieve everything that God wants for us, as long as we do it His way.

Think for a moment.  Have you ever tried and tried and tried to achieve something, only to be unsuccessful?  Perhaps it was because either you were not seeking God’s will, or you were trying to do things your way, not His.

You might counter my argument by pointing to the scriptures I shared at the opening of this article.  I’ll have to confess that I set you up by not giving all of the verses’ content.

Read them again, noticing the important missing content (noted in parentheses).

I can do all things (through him who strengthens me).”  Phil. 4:13

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask for or think, (according to the power at work within us).”  Ephesians 3:20

All things are possible (for one who believes).”  Mark 9:23

(With God) all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

Don’t be guilty of beating on and arguing with your donkey.  Sometimes it is the right time to seek another direction.

(For other articles that have a spiritual emphasis, click on the Category “A Drink from the Well.”

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