A young woman hears about a store in NY that caters to single women who want a reliable way to find a potential life partner. It's called "The Husband Store", and it comes with excellent references. So, she decides to give it a whirl. Upon entering, she is in a hallway with stairs leading up to 5 different floors of available men, all with various characteristics that appeal to single females.
Hmm, she thinks, as she reads the 1st sign: Once you enter a floor, you cannot go back or to any other floor. Thank you for your cooperation.
With that she proceeds to the 1st floor, where she sees another sign: On this floor are nice guys with good jobs. She decides to try the next one.
On the next floor, the sign reads: On this floor are good-looking guys with good jobs and nice cars. "Not bad" she thinks, but decides to try the next floor anyway.
On the next floor, she sees: On this floor are good looking guys with great jobs, nice cars and they all love kids. She's impressed, but goes up to the next floor anyway.
On this floor, the sign says: on this floor are great-looking guys with fabulous jobs, love kids, have expensive cars and are very passionate and romantic. "Wow" she exclaims. She hesitates for a bit, but then takes the plunge to go up to the final floor.
Upon reaching the top, there is a door, which she opens. Inside, the is a sign which reads: "Hello, you are visitor number 1,269,135 so far, and are further proof that women are IMPOSSIBLE to please. Have a Nice Day."
As I read this scripture, Luke 1:37 stands out like a neon sign. “nothing is impossible with God.” Two words meant to go together: Christmas and Miracle. Luke 1:35-37 is all about the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, that is next week’s message, so I won’t dwell too much on it, other than to say clearly the caption in how to respond to God’s unbelievable impossible miracle is to be amazed. God is wholly other than us ~ what is impossible for us is God’s nature.
God is a God of miracles that can and will do anything. Today’s Bible verses are full of miracles. We’ll walk through some of them. Full of the impossible. Nothing is impossible with God, that is a foundational life changing truth, and it turns out that while God can do anything and anytime, he limits his miracles to do that which is good, affirming of the people he loves so much, life changing. The other truth that comes out is how normal it is for us to express fear when we face a miracle from God. God’s ways are so beyond us, when faced with the impossible, we can relate so easily to the young teenage girl named Mary in Luke 1:29 READ. Troubled. Confused. Uncertain.
I wish we could take time to listen to all your Impossible God stories. For me, I was lost in the woods at age 6 very afraid and God sent an angel named Harold Markham to keep me safe. I fell into a crevasse on top of Mt. Baker and landed on a very narrow ledge to keep from plunging to my death. I should be dead. I fell in a lake out of a canoe, not being able to swim, and to this day it was impossible I climbed out of the lake on the tippy side of the canoe, almost as if an angel lifted me out of the water. The number one thing kids made fun of me when I was in school was my slow speech pattern, impossible that I speak in public. God put me together with Sally, the most amazing person in the world, it should not have happened. I could go on.
The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ is surely the top miracle of all time. Like creation itself, God created out of nothing, God gave us his son Jesus Christ to walk in this world in the flesh, born of a virgin… next week why the Virgin Birth is so important, enough today just to be amazed! But that’s not the only miracle in these verses…
IMPOSSIBLE: The appearance of an angel. READ Luke 1:26-27. This is not possible according to the rules of this world. I believe in angels.
IMPOSSIBLE: they figure Mary is a mere 13-14 years old, that was the custom of the day. A young girl. A very unexpected person to be blessed by the appearance of an angel. The good news is that anybody, no matter their earthly status, is a candidate to be involved in a miracle of God!
IMPOSSIBLE: Luke 1:31: “You [a virgin] will be with child…”
Why would we be afraid of a miracle? Mary was “Greatly troubled and wondered..” Because any change, even a good change, is hard. The patterns of our life. I’ve heard it said that divorce is common among couples when the cursed addiction is overcome. Why? The pattern is changed and they don’t know how to be a healthy couple. A miracle is challenging. It’s easier to be a victim and wallow in our self pity, but harder to see success. Are you ready to receive a miracle in your life? Are you prepared? At first Mary is afraid and doesn’t know what to think about the angel with the wild message, but she listens, she is ready, she considers what is being said. Are you ready? Don’t pray for a miracle to bail you out of a mess. Pray that you will be ready for your life to be transformed. If I’m in debt for a thousand dollars and I find a thousand dollars I forgot about in a coat pocket, that’s wonderful to be able to pay my debt, but whoop-tee-doo, if all I get out of it is to keep the creditor from knocking on my door. My prayer is when the amazing happens that I am humbled by it, that I will be a little more aware of the amazing watchcare of God, open a bit more to depending on God’s provisions. The miracles of our life are amazing, but how we respond is what God really cares about. Initially being afraid is a good response, for that leaves the door open to digesting the miracle and seeing a glimpse of God…
You gotta be amazed by what Gabriel says to Mary: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” I’m going to go ahead and leave Mary high on a pedestal of being used by God in a way that the world has never before or since seen, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet this explanation of Gabriel ought to make us pay attention too. Everyone who is blessed by God is highly favored. God is about doing the impossible. Yes, I believe that we are called to use wisdom in this world and make the best decisions we can in order to live an honorable God fearing life. We ought not to make foolish decisions and then depend on a miracle to bail us out. Yet, at the same time, our wisdom is not enough, and the miracles of God are ~ I believe ~ more common than we think. Walk in wisdom, but be open to the miracles that are so amazing.
The fact we are born means we are highly favored and blessed by God, yet when the impossible happens, may we take the blessing as a reminder of how much God loves us. May the impossible be an absolute proof God is with us. It’s always true, yet we need to hear it. God is the God of the impossible! It is as true today as it was 2000 years ago. God will use the impossible to change your life: you must be open to it. Walk in wisdom, but know God will favor you with the miracles. You know why I think God does miracles? It’s not in this scripture, it’s just my opinion: it’s God having fun. Like making the rainbows. I bought a milkshake at CrossWater earlier this week, and Katy said, do you want whipped cream on top, and I thought, “no, I’m on a diet, what a silly person to even ask.” Katy said, “that’s not a real milkshake then.” I didn’t enjoy the milkshake quite as much. I think maybe God would have said yes to the whipped cream. Yes to the impossible. Yes to the miracle. Yes to the unexpected. Yes to blessing people. God having fun!
God is God. He can do anything. His miracles are so far beyond my ability or power or imagination, what he does is almost too amazing. Miracles are just something I have to accept as part of God’s wonderful way. But Mary is a human, a pretty amazing young girl, but just a person. She models for you and me a most incredible response to the impossible. Mary started out afraid, and she wondered, but then she listened, she heard, she considered. It was impossible that she really fully understood the full extent of what the angel was saying to her, but she believed anyway as best as she could. And then, in an amazing response she replied, READ Luke 1:38.
Mary accepted with simple faith what the angel of God told her. This is news that rocked her world, she had no idea what it would mean, but she had to know at the very least nothing would ever be the same. She had no idea how her family, Joseph her fiancée, her community would respond. And in simple faith, a courageous young woman pledged herself to be available to God, “May it be to me as you have said.” The depth of this lesson is staggering.
What impossible situation are you facing today? Some of you are carrying heavy burdens today. For some of you the holiday season will be lonely this year. Some of you are facing a financial crisis that looks hopeless to you right now. Some of you are out of work and don’t have a single lead on a good job. Some of you are looking at a marriage that seems worse than hopeless. Some of you have deep secrets that are eating you up. Some of you are estranged from members of your own family. Some of you have children who are far away from God. Some of you feel lonely and far away from God yourselves. God is the God of miracles. Walk in wisdom, making the best decisions you can, but be prepared for God to invade your life by overcoming the impossible. God is the God of the impossible, and the purpose of the impossible is to change you from the inside out!
Christmas is all about miracles. God surely has great joy in giving the gift of miracles. You will probably be afraid when you first see the signs of a miracle: is it true? What does it mean? Yet be prepared to listen, to wonder, to hear. The miracles of God are always good. Miracles always mean God is blessing you. Really there is only one question. Not can God do miracles, not even if he will work his wonderful miracles in your life. The only question is how you and I will respond.
What does God want from us? The same thing he wanted from Mary. Simple faith that God will keep his word in unlikely and unexpected ways. Miracles are always given, not to bail us out of a tight spot, but to change us. I had a tooth fall out in a restaurant once. Sally and I had no money or insurance. I said absolutely nothing, and as I was calmly wondering how we were going to come up with what was certainly hundreds of dollars, Sally’s father took out a check and gave us an unexpected gift that later turned out to be within $25 of the total cost. Sure, we were bailed out with this impossible gift, but more important, I took it as a sign of God saying I will always be with you. I needed that message.
What does God want? Our hearts. Our trust. An acceptance that he is our father and we can trust him to guide our lives as he sees fit: “May it be to me as you have said.”
Nothing is impossible with God! All God wants from us is to let him transform us and change us by accepting that amazing truth. A miracle from God is coming your way. Walk in wisdom, yet be prepared for a miracle. God must have a lot of fun. There is always a miracle around the corner. Are you ready?