How Do You Obey God When He Asks You To Do the Impossible?

In short, the “impossible” can only be accomplished by faith.

In all such instances, God calls his people to radical obedience.  He calls us to trust Him. But do we?  The issue isn’t just whether we obey.  The issue is how we obey.   Do we do the impossible thing God is calling us to do with hope and confidence that all things works for good?  Or do we obey God with a sense of resignation and despair? Put differently, do we obey according to faith, or do we obey out of sheer duty?

 

In all of the many Star Wars films (and there are too many now), one of my favorite segments is where Yoda is training the young Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.

After Luke fails to lift his X-wing fighter out of the swamp by using the Force, he complains to Yoda, “You want the impossible.”  Then he walks off into the woods to pout.

Of course, Yoda then proceeds to lift the X-wing fighter out of the swamp himself and sets it on dry land.  Luke stares in amazement, “I don’t believe it.”

Yoda’s reply is classic, “That is why you fail.”

While the quasi-Gnostic, New Age worldview of the Star Wars saga makes me hesitant to use it as an example, I have to say that a good lesson can be learned in this instance.

In short, the “impossible” can only be accomplished by faith.

Indeed, God has a habit of asking his people to do “impossible” things.  Unthinkable things.  Nonsensical things. He asked Noah to build a 400 foot ark in the middle of dry land.  He asked Gideon to send 32,000 troops home before the battle with the Midianites, leaving him only 300 men.  And he asked Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman—a prostitute.

In all such instances, God calls his people to radical obedience.  He calls us to trust Him.

But do we?  The issue isn’t just whether we obey.  The issue is how we obey.   Do we do the impossible thing God is calling us to do with hope and confidence that all things works for good?  Or do we obey God with a sense of resignation and despair?

Put differently, do we obey according to faith, or do we obey out of sheer duty?

I fear the latter is all too often the case.  Sure, we may do the unthinkable thing God is asking us to do.  But, we have already determined ahead of time that all hope is lost.  No good can come from this, we think.

But there is a better way.  And Abraham models it for us.  Perhaps no one was tested more deeply and profoundly than Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his one and only son (Gen 22:1).

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