Summary: Preached at a rescue mission. When we think that not even God can do what He has promised, He will silence us so that we can listen. When we experience God’s power, we will be empowered to give our testimony and to stand for what we know is right.
There are a whole lot of things which yesterday seemed impossible, but which today are not only not impossible, but also are everyday, ordinary.
A hundred years ago, who would have thought it would be possible to send pictures through space? Who would have imagined that somebody standing in front of a camera in New York could be seen by people in Washington? Who would have supposed that instead of waiting for the news to arrive in a newspaper, you could see it happening for yourself? A hundred years ago, they would have said it was impossible. But not to us. It’s television, and it’s everywhere you go. In fact, kids today can’t believe it when I tell them I grew up without television. When I was a child, TV seemed impossible. Now, to kids today, doing without TV seems impossible!
There are a whole lot of things which once seemed impossible, but which today are not only not impossible, but everyday occurrences. Flying in an airplane, 7 or 8 miles up. Taking a submarine, a boat that goes under the water instead of on top. Impossible?! No, we know it can be done. It’s done all the time.
What that means is that we should be really careful about how we announce that certain things are impossible. We don’t know that these things are impossible. We just know that they haven’t happened yet. But that doesn’t mean that they can never happen. We need to be very careful about just declaring that something is impossible. Maybe some of the impossibilities will be possible, later on, at the right time. Maybe some of the things we hope for, like cures for cancer and treatment for AIDS, will really happen. Maybe there will be an end to war, maybe we will have understanding between whites and blacks, maybe someday there will be love instead of prejudice, prosperity instead ofpoverty -- maybe all of these impossibilities will be possible, later on, at the right time. I certainly want to think so. I want to hope so. I want to be very cautious about saying that any of this is impossible.
The Bible says, “nothing will be impossible for God.” What will be impossible for God? Some things? Most things? No, Nothing will be impossible for God.
Just about two thousand years ago, in the land of Israel, a man named Zechariah and his wife, named Elizabeth, had just about given up. They figured that it was all over. They had been married for a long time, but they didn’t have any children. They had hoped and prayed for children, but nothing. And now they were getting along in years. They just kind of forgot about it. Having children seemed impossible. So let it go, right?
So Zechariah went about his business every day and more or less forgot about becoming a father. But one day Zechariah was praying in the Temple, where he was a priest, and suddenly, God’s messenger came and said, “Zechariah, go home, and get ready, because your wife is going to have that child you’ve been wanting. It’s going to happen at last, Zechariah, this thing you’ve been waiting for all these years.”
Put yourself in Zechariah’s place. Would you think Zechariah would have been overjoyed? You might have expected him to whoop and holler and start passing out cigars. But, no, you see, Zechariah had waited so long that by now he had given up. He had absolutely given up. And the first thing that pops into his mind is that this is impossible. Hey, Mr. Angel, don’t you know that Elizabeth and I are old now? We’re past all that. My wife having a baby? That’s impossible!
Brother Zechariah found out real fast that God’s messengers don’t like the idea of impossibility! God’s messengers do not take very well to being told that their message is not welcome! So the angel told Zechariah, I am trying to bring you good news here. But if you don’t want it, if you won’t believe it, then let me give you the deal here. The deal is, Zechariah, that you are not going to be able to speak until the baby gets here. Zechariah, if you cannot say thanks to God for what God wants to do for you, then you just won’t be able to say anything!
You know, sometimes God has to shut us up so that we can listen to Him and find out for sure what He is doing! Sometimes God just has to shut us up before we refuse what He wants to do for us, and so He has to take away something we already have so that we can receive something new. And it’s not that God wants to punish us. It’s not that God is trying to be hard on us. It’s that we are so cocksure about what can and cannot happen that we resist the best things that God wants to do for us. You know, I remember that when my daughter was a little girl, she would get so talkative, well, so loud, that she couldn’t and wouldn’t listen to what we were trying to say, so every now and then I would just put my hand over her mouth so that I could stop the flow of words and get in a few of my own. I had to shut her up so that she could listen to me!