Making the Impossible Possible
“We often sin,” states St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris, “when we allow our spiritual lives to be guided by what we consider normal, by calculating our lives by worldly forces, forgetting that the Christian path is controlled by supernatural, and therefore inexhaustible forces.”
In other words, St. Maria reminds many of us that when we get discouraged because we feel that something may seem impossible, we are giving in to a human perspective, calculating results via natural or normal worldly standards. Instead, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must never forget that Christ came into the world and overcame the world. The world’s standards are not His own. We believe that with God all things are possible! The impossible, by worldly standards, becomes possible! We can find hope in every seemingly hopeless situation. No matter how great the darkness in the world, the light of Christ shines forth. And the fountain of God’s grace and power is inexhaustible!
Remember, when we are with God, all things are possible!
We see this again and again in the stories throughout the Gospels. We read about Jesus performing unheard of miracles – giving sight to someone born blind (impossible!), cleansing a leper (impossible!), healing someone paralyzed for 37 years (impossible!), even bringing back to life someone who had been declared dead (impossible!). Yet if we read the entire Bible and study Church history, we realize God has been active in supernatural ways throughout the 2000 years before Christ in the Old Testament, and for 2000 years since the coming of Jesus.
The Christian path is a path controlled by supernatural, and therefore inexhaustible forces. And the beauty of divine history is that this all-powerful God works in conjunction with his human creation. Central to our Orthodox Christian theology is an understanding of divine synergy, this working together between God and humanity. His wonders often take place when we put ourselves in God’s hands. When we offer something to God, He takes our offering and transforms it into a special blessing.
We read an example of this in today’s Gospel story. Our Lord is preaching to a crowd of thousands all day and into the evening, and after this long day Jesus looks at the people with compassion. He sees they are tired and hungry, so He tells His disciples to “give them something to eat.” Now, this may seem like an absurd and even impossible request. Where could his 12 disciples find food to feed 5000 men, not including the women and children. Maybe there were 10,000 people present, hungry and waiting to be fed. Where could the disciples ever find enough food to give the people? The disciples faced a seemingly impossible dilemma.
Yet, they also understood that with God all things are possible. The Christ-centered path is controlled by supernatural and inexhaustible forces. So they did what they could and then offered up their results to Christ. They gathered five loaves and two fish. Think about that. It is quite laughable to think that Jesus asked them to feed the crowd of thousands and they brought before Him five loaves and two fish. An insignificant offering by worldly standards. How can five loaves and two fish satisfy the hunger of 5000 men, in addition to the women and children.
Yet our Lord doesn’t laugh at their offering, but instead says, “Bring them here” and proceeds to bless the bread and fish as the crowds sit down. Jesus takes what is offered and makes the impossible possible. The disciples’ offering, together with our Lord’s blessing, performs miracles! And the crowd of thousands is satisfied while the disciples even gather up 12 baskets filled with the leftovers.
Remember the Christian path is controlled by supernatural, and therefore inexhaustible forces. With God all things are possible.
This miracle made me think about another miracle that each of us experience, and it happens every week in our Church during the Divine Liturgy. We gather together as the people of God to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, where the saints and the church triumphant all await us. We offer prayers. We hear the Good News proclaimed. We sing hymns. We gather together in love for God and for one another. And then what happens? God takes what we offer – a simple and humble offering of bread and wine. There is nothing special or holy about eating bread and drinking wine. Yet, God takes what is offered and transforms this simple gift into something unbelievable – the Body and Blood of Christ. A Divine Mystery occurs. Something impossible becomes possible. Bread and wine become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in this Divine Mystery we the faithful commune and consume our Lord. We are united to Christ in the most intimate manner!
A simple gift is offered. God accepts the humble offering and turns it into something divine! Each and every week, if we have the eyes of faith to see and believe, the impossible becomes possible, and our lives are changed and transformed!
And we can take this lesson and carry it with us throughout our lives. God is alive and active, a God of miracles who is ready to intervene in our lives! He is ready to take whatever we offer – and if we offer it to Him – He will bless it, and then multiply it like the five loaves and two fish. He is ready to accept our offering of common bread and wine, and mystically change it into His Body and Blood. God is ready to be present and work in our lives, in miraculous ways, IF we give Him the space, if we allow Him to be present, and if we offer Him whatever we have.
There is an important synergy at work. We offer whatever we have to God, in humility and love, and He takes it and blesses it, and then multiplies it in the world.
Remember the words of St. Maria of Paris, “We often sin when we allow our spiritual lives to be guided by what we consider normal, by calculating our lives by worldly forces, forgetting that the Christian path is controlled by supernatural, and therefore inexhaustible forces.”
Let each of us be open to the supernatural and inexhaustible force of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
I conclude with a hymn we sing at Pentecost and at other moments throughout the year – “Who is so great a God as our God, you alone are the God of wonders!” This great God, this God of wonders, this God of impossible miracles is ready to work in each of our lives!
Let us offer our five loaves and two fish and see the miracles of God!
Facing Our Uncertain Future
We Value Life
Our Orthodox Faith