Growing up, maybe you watched or heard of superheroes who could do the impossible – they could turn invisible, move things with super strength, and even fly anywhere they wanted to go. No matter what impossible situation faced them, they found a way to get through it.
As we get older, our view of “impossible” changes. Maybe it is a desperately sought after breakthrough, a long fought for goal, or a precious desire within our hearts, carefully hidden away lest the laughter of a well-intentioned “reality check” scares it away for good.
I was recently reminded of a passage in Acts 2, where Peter speaks out after being filled with the Holy Spirit. He says:
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a Man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” – Acts 2:22-24 (NASB)
This chapter is a good read in itself – The believers waited in Jerusalem like Jesus told them to, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit there. Being filled, they began speaking with boldness, and what they were saying was understood even by people who spoke different languages! The people thought the believers were drunk because they didn’t understand what was happening. I suppose what they saw seemed like an “impossible situation” too!
Peter’s View Of The Impossible
Hearing the confusion from the people, Peter stood up to explain what was happening, which eventually bring us to the above passage. What caught my eye about Peter’s response was verse 24:
“But God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” – Acts 2:24 (NASB)
Impossible for Jesus to be held in death’s power? How different that statement is from how the women and disciples responded to Jesus’ death!
In John 20, we read that Mary Magdalene rose early to go to Jesus’ tomb (v.1). Upon seeing the stone rolled away, she ran to tell the disciples that someone had taken Jesus’ body. Hearing this, a couple of disciples ran to see for themselves. John 20:6-10 records:
“So Simon Peter also came, following him, and he entered the tomb; and he looked at the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings but folded up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb also entered then, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.”
This same Peter who had not understood that Jesus would be raised again is the one who later speaks boldly to the crowd, sharing with them the power of God through what looked like a done and final outcome.
Mary’s Reward For Waiting
Before we look back at Acts 2, I want to take a minute to look further along in John 20. Starting in verse 11, we read that Mary Magdalene didn’t leave the tomb with the disciples. Instead, she stayed behind:
“But Mary was standing outside the tomb, weeping; so as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’
“She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they put Him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and yet she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Thinking that He was the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher).
“Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene came and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and that He had said these things to her.” – John 20:11-18 (NASB)
This passage so touches my heart. Jesus didn’t have to show up to see Mary before going to see the others. After all, she was just one woman. She was just one person who was seeking after Him, yet was unable to find Him. Even the disciples had returned to their homes.
And yet, Jesus stops to see the woman who was still desperately seeking Him by His tomb. She had risen before even the sun that morning, she ran immediately to go tell the disciples what had happened, and she stayed afterwards, weeping and searching. Although she was alone, the Lord saw her. And in her waiting and weeping, she saw the Lord.
The Other Side Of Impossible
In both of these stories, we see a change take place. For Peter, what he once couldn’t understand suddenly became crystal clear. Jesus is indeed the Son of God, and there is nothing impossible for Him. Not even death could hold Him!
Whereas it once seemed impossible for Jesus to be raised from the dead, Peter now saw that it was impossible for death to hold Him. The circumstances didn’t change, but Peter’s understanding of them did.
In Mary’s case, she wasn’t even hoping that Jesus had been raised from the dead. She simply wanted to take care of Him now that He had died. In her eyes, Jesus being raised from the dead was also quite impossible.
What seemed to her like a heartbreaking moment of defeat turned out instead to bring her face to face with her Savior. Her impossible situation was not the end. In fact, there was a whole new, exciting season of life waiting on the other side. She couldn’t see it, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. Her tears were not unseen, but they also weren’t the end.
When We Meet The Impossible
Do you remember how I said that our definition of impossible changes as we get older? Throughout our lives, there are going to be moments that feel too final, too heartbreaking, too different, or too, well, impossible. We know this is part of the journey.
When we run into those moments, though, when we are met with the impossible, we still have a sure and steady hope to hold on to. You see, while we may find ourselves up against the impossible, we have already come face to face with the One who overcame it. There is nothing that He can’t see us through.
One last note, don’t let the weight of impossible situations keep you from believing that God can still move through them. There was a point of time in my life where everything I was carrying felt way too heavy, and I couldn’t see through to the other side. One thing I kept telling myself though was that anything can get better with God. He can change everything in a day.
It didn’t happen right away, but God saw me through every single one of those moments. At the time, I would hear stories from people who also clung to God during difficult times, and they would share testimonies of how God did the impossible. It’s easy to hear those stories and think to yourself:
“That’s for them, or maybe the person next to me. That can’t happen with my stuff, though.”
If you’re thinking that, you’re not alone but that thought isn’t true. God did indeed turn those things around in my life, and now there are days I can hardly remember what it was like. What you are going through now won’t last forever. Keep clinging to Him, and He will see you through.
There are a lot of things I don’t know about life, but one thing I know with absolute certainty is that God is faithful. If you find yourself in an impossible situation, big or small, ask God to guide you through it. He will see you through. Those who wait on the Lord will not be put to shame.
Here’s to our journey!
Through every high and low, our God remains the same.
Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
Make me know Your ways, Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Guard my soul and save me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
Let integrity and uprightness protect me,
For I wait for You.