When You Face The Impossible

Every one of us will face impossible situations at one time or another.

It may be a situation at work or school, or a financial need. We just can’t see any possible way to change things. I think the most tempting “impossible” situation we face is a loved one who is not saved. Especially when it is an older child who seems to have no interest in the Lord.

And of course we know it is impossible for us to save anyone. Only God can. Yes, God can save, but when we look at our teen or adult child, we can be tempted to think they are too far gone for even God to save.

No matter what impossibility you face, God has a wonderful promise for you:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. PS 81.10

In context, Israel was looking to other gods to meet their needs, were bowing down before them. So God in essence, God says, “Why would you bow before these empty, powerless gods? Why ask them for help? They can’t do anything. Remember “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. You were powerless slaves. You could never have freed yourselves. Yet I did the impossible for you. I brought you out of there. I broke Pharaoh’s yoke over you. You had no army, no weapons, no power. You could never have overcome Pharaoh’s warriors and chariots. You were up against the Red Sea with no boats. It was impossible for you to get through.

Yet in one day I did the impossible for you. I split the Red Sea and held back the waters so you could walk right through the middle. Then I wiped out the Egyptians in their chariots. In other words, I saved you. I did the impossible for you. So why would you turn to gods who can do nothing? Remember, if I did the big thing – saved you – then surely when you ask me for lesser things – all your needs – I’ll supply them.

God says the same thing to us. He says, I’m the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage to sin. I saved you. I removed the guilt of all your sin by the blood of my Son. I did the impossible – gave you eternal life when you were dead in sin. When you were my enemies I made you friends and adopted you as my children. Nothing is impossible to me. I did the big thing- saved you – so open your mouth wide – ask me for your desires – and I will fill your mouths – I’ll answer your prayers.

Nothing is impossible with God. If he saved us when we were rebels, dead in sin with no desire for him, then he can save anyone.

If God saved us, he can save our children and loved ones. No one is too far gone for God to save. He says in Isaiah 59:1:

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.

No one is too hard for the Lord to save. So ask him! Ask him to save every single one of your children, grandchildren and descendants until Jesus returns. That’s not too hard for him.

In Matthew 19 we read:

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (23-26)

A rich person who has everything he or she needs isn’t likely to turn to God. But Jesus reminds us that no human being can save a rich person – it is impossible. “But with God, all things are possible.” In fact no human being can save anyone – rich or poor – but with God all things are possible.

No one is too far gone for God to save.

Not only can God save anyone, but he can change any situation.

“With God all things are possible.” God wants us to ask him for big things. As he told Israel, “Let me remind you, don’t forget who I am – I am the Lord your God. And don’t forget what I did for you – brought you out of the land of Egypt. I did the impossible for you. So open your mouth wide – ask me for big things. Ask me for impossible things. And I will fill your mouth – answer your prayers. If I did the big thing, delivered you from Egypt, then don’t you think I’ll feed you and clothe you and lead you? But ASK ME! Open your mouth! And open it wide!

In 1 CH 4.10 we see Jabez opening his mouth wide:

Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. 1 CH 4.10


Now this doesn’t mean that we should pray that God would make us the next Bill Gates. God doesn’t want us to pray he would make us millionaires. But we certainly can pray that he will supply all our needs – our daily bread – even if it looks impossible. We can certainly ask God to bless us. And Jesus also told us to ask our heavenly Father to deliver us from evil.

Peter’s impossible situation

In Acts 12, Herod arrested Peter.

And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (4-5)

Talk about an impossible situation! Peter had 4 squads of soldiers guarding him. What hope did he have to get out? Yet the church prayed earnestly for him. And God did the impossible:

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (6-11)

Peter was between 2 soldiers, bound with chains. Sentries also guarding the door. Impossible. Not to God! An angel wakes him, the chains fall off, they walk past all the guards, and the iron gate opens “of its own accord,” and Peter is free. The saints were praying for the impossible and God did it. But when Peter comes to them, it’s almost hilarious how they respond:

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. (12-16)

They were praying for the impossible, but when told God had done it they said, “You are out of your mind.”

Maybe they thought God would answer their prayers through the legal system of the day. That maybe Herod would change his mind and free Peter. They couldn’t imagine Peter’s chains just dropping off him, and an angel leading him on a stroll through the prison and the gate just swinging open before him.

God has answers we can’t imagine.

Maybe you can’t imagine your grown daughter calling you to tell you Jesus saved her. Maybe you can’t imagine how you could ever have a relationship with your estranged son. Maybe you can’t imagine how God could ever use someone as ordinary as you to change others’ lives. He is the Lord God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt – he saved you from slavery to sin and death – so open your mouth wide – ask him for impossible things – and he will fill it – he will do the impossible.

And when your daughter calls you, don’t say, “You are out of your mind!”

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

3 comments

  • Amen! This, from John Newton (paraphrased a bit) helps me remember to pray BIG…”You are coming before a King, so with you, large petitions bring, for His grace and power are such that none can ever ask too much. It’s what C.S. Lewis talks about when he says…”It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.” Does the size of our prayers match the size of His sacrifice? Does the scale of our dreams match the scale of His sufferings? Thank you for encouraging us, brother Mark!

    • Thanks for that great quote Candace! I have heard it in the past but not for some time – I’m going to save it. Thanks for reading the post and I really appreciate your encouragement!

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