Lent Day 31: With God All Things are Possible
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
Several years ago, our church wanted to hold a major conference to reach people in the community and local churches in the area, on how to love all people well. Plans for the event were under way, but after some further planning I realized, we did not have the marketing needed to pull off the event and would have to cancel. This was a "yes, but" for us. We wanted to do the conference but getting people to attend and getting the word out with our budget and means was not possible. It was at that time I had to make a call to graciously bow out of having the event at our church.
It was at that time that another voice from the organization called me the next day and said they want to do the event and would be willing to help in any way they could, even from their own budget to see that the event was a success. Just when we thought the doors were closed to holding the event the “yes, but” became a yes, with God all things are possible.
I am sure this is the way Abraham felt when told he would have a child at 100 years old. But like Abraham and for us, it is the naked voice of the gospel that counters our tiredness. Brueggemann reminds us how this process really works. “Not can you implement it, can you plan it, can you achieve it only? Can you entrust possibilities to God that go beyond your own capacity for control and fabrication?” He goes on to state, “God brings into existence that which does not exist.” It is God who creates something from nothing. “It belongs to the mystery and holiness of God to call to be that which is not yet.”
The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas and established it upon the floods.
As you can imagine what occurred next was only by the hand of God. Not only did we have the conference, but we had standing room only in the building. This international organization that usually meets in mega churches came to a small church to minister in an uncommon place.
When someone at the conference asked me how we pulled this off. My response was not “yes, but.” It was, “but, God.”
This required all of us to see things in a new way and requires that we relinquish many things to experience this newness. From depending solely on economics, intellect, politics, and the list could go on. Just like Abraham could not imagine giving birth to Isaac, so too we could not imagine birthing a conference of this size. But the God that birthed Isaac and birthed our conference is no conventional God. “This God intends us no conventional life.”
“Deliver us from the shackles of “yes, but” and free us to sing songs of miracles. Open our hearts and minds to your creative word, which calls into being things that don’t yet exist and brings life that is extraordinary and new. Amen.” Brueggemann
Brueggemann, Walter. A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. Kentucky: Westminster John Know Press, 2017.