On Faith: Believing the Impossible

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Hebrews 11:1

“Super Powers”

“Justin Bieber”

“A sea of gravy”

“Radioactive bacon”

I knew this was an unsafe question to ask – “what do you want, wish for, hope for, that you believe is impossible?” This is how I should have expected the middle and high school students at Attic After School to respond.

After quieting the shouts I asked, “What could change your opinion about the impossibility of these things?”

“Well, if I was rescued by a super hero, I might believe in super powers.”

“Right. If something happens that is completely outside your day-to-day experience… Or, if Someone from the outside speaks in a supernatural way, that might change your mind. It would make belief in the impossible, possible.”

This was the experience of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham was told on multiple occasions that he would be the father of a great nation, and this through Sarah, his barren wife. Everything about their experience told them this was impossible. No one could conceive a child at that age. It could not happen. And yet, as Hebrews tells us, Abraham and Sarah responded with faith. Why? Because they considered God faithful. They had had an experience that was completely outside of their normal experience. They had encountered God, and since they considered him faithful, they could have faith in the impossible.

Another interesting, and encouraging part of this story, is that at various points both Sarah and Abraham responded with unbelief, laughing when they heard God’s word (Gen 17:17, 18:12). How many times, even after seeing God prove Himself faithful, or hearing again and again from his Word, do we respond with unbelief? And yet, God continues to work with us.

Ultimately, it’s God’s promises that enables us to believe the impossible. This is not a blank check to believe in anything we want (like super powers or a sea of gravy) but it does enable us to believe God’s word, if we consider God to be faithful.

This is good because God has told us about some pretty impossible things – like about the resurrection of the dead and eternal life. But, because God has demonstrated Himself faithful, like by raising Jesus from the dead, we are able to state, “with God, all things are possible,” and we are able to live by that faith.