With God, all things are possible. What profoundly great news.
It may seem to be so, but I suspect for many believers it is secretly not such good news. On the contrary, it is a source of anxiety. The truth is so exceedingly great that they miss out on its possibility, profundity and majesty; they hear instead only one more thing that they are responsible for, and they secretly wish they were not. They almost wish, in fact, though it sounds bad to say, the truth weren’t so great. They secretly wish that with God, only some things were possible. That way, there would be less to think about.
But imagine such a world. Imagine that with God, all things were not possible. God was not capable, or perhaps He simply had decreed that we were beyond His assistance, imprisoned within our lives, victims destined to take whatever came our way, no exceptions.
Regrettably, such a world is what some not only secretly wish for but believe in. They believe all miracles ceased with the early church, but believe Jesus will come again one day with power and glory. They have made God powerful in the past and in the future, but not in the present. In the meantime, God is only capable of some things. He can comfort us in our physical suffering, but He cannot relieve it. He can provide us the means to provide food on the table that we thank Him for, but He cannot miraculously multiply fish and loaves. He is, apparently, no longer in the miracle business. He is on break.
It is an odd thing, really: To believe in a God who is all-powerful but not capable to do much of anything in the present, where we exist. He is powerful everywhere except for right in the middle of our lives. I would like to suggest the God we serve is not this god. He is much closer.
It is in fact a miracle that has brought us to faith in Jesus Christ in the first place. Just think how improbable it is to believe that a man who lived two thousand years ago is God. What could possibly persuade us? Would the credibility of those we know who claimed it is true? Would the compelling historical evidence? Would intellectual arguments? Or merely our upbringing?
All of these things may contribute to our spiritual journey, but coming to genuine faith in Jesus Christ — not just being persuaded intellectually or finding it convenient socially, but coming to experience One we have come to love, to Whom, according to Scripture, our spirits cry out “Abba, Father” —is nothing short of a supernatural event. If we have come to believe in God through a miracle, why would we deny any others? To believe in the miraculous is simply to continue in what we have come to already believe.
It is of course conceivable that our belief in God involves no supernatural element whatsoever. Though this is possible, it certainly does not reflect core Christian belief. “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” For these words to be intelligible at all requires a supernatural element. It is possible therefore that churches who call themselves Christian deny any supernatural component, but this would not be true Christianity. True Christianity is supernatural. It claims we have met Someone. Whether that Someone is capable of all things or not much of anything is the only question that remains.
It is the up close and personal nature of Jesus Christ that is difficult for us to come to terms with. He demands change, and we fear the change required is equal to His ability to do so, and it is this fear that wishes to make Him smaller. For the skeptic, we do so by making him a mere man, or a myth. For the believer, we can do so by making him less powerful, or more distant. The goal is the same: To unconsciously preserve our way of life.
But his infinite power is the very thing we need. It may bring about great change, but take heart: He has overcome the world.