Life isn't hard; it's impossible.
Life seems easy at times. Sometimes we go through phases where things fall together for a while. Other times things seem hard. Seasons of difficulty come along adding stress to life. But, at some point, life becomes impossible. We may not want to acknowledge it. We may not want to believe it, but life becomes impossible. Let me illustrait the difference between hard and impossible.
Life is hard when...
- You struggle to make ends meet.
- You have kids.
- You can't get a job in your field.
- You get your heart broken.
Life is impossible when...
- You lose everything and still owe.
- Your child has a terminal disease.
- You can never work again.
- You are traumatized by abuse.
My ministry efforts used to consist a lot of trying to fix things. Helping people find jobs or buy groceries was hard, but it seemed possible. I could move resources and call in favors to get help for a family. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a really important part of ministry, but it only goes so far.
I can't forget the day I sat across from a woman who told me of how she and her children had been brutally raped. The details of that account are burned into my memory, and I wish I could forget them. There are no words to comfort a person who has been so traumatized as she. No theological explanation of suffering was going to do her any good right then. Knowledge failed me. Words failed me. Resources failed me. I couldn't just find her a job or buy her some groceries. Evil had traumatized her in ways that neither I nor any other mere human could fix.
This was not the only time I have been in over my head in ministry. I've done funerals for babies and sat with dying men in their last days. I've talked to abused women who couldn't leave the hold of their abuser's manipulation.
I have felt helpless many times. I have had no power to fix anything.
If Jesus was merely my good luck charm for life, something to make me work harder or try harder when things were tough, then I would have given up a long time ago. I don't just his help to do things that are hard; I need Him to do the impossible for me.
Don't believe the lie that Jesus wants to give you "your best life now." Jesus didn't die to make you more successful at work. While his ultimate purpose is for you to enjoy Him forever, His immediate purpose for you is to trust Him.
This is why we are not just faced with the difficult; we are faced with the impossible.
I can overcome difficult things on my own, but not the impossible.
Can you imagine Peter in Matthew 14 when Jesus invites him to walk on the water. Walking on water is not something Peter (or any mere human) can do. No amount of self-confidence or knowledge could give him the ability to walk on water. That is something only Jesus could do, and that is the whole point.
Jesus doesn't want you to do your best; He wants you to do the impossible.
The more difficult the circumstances, the more necessary your dependance. I think that Jesus allows us to face the impossible not because he wants us to suffer, but because He wants us to walk on water. He wants us to trust him deeply to do the impossible.
The world is full of broken, hopeless people, and you can't help them that much. You can buy clothes and food for a few. You can make their lives a little better than they were, but you can't bring their love ones back to life and you can't save their souls. Those are things only Jesus can do, but He has invited you to join him.
What sea is He inviting you to step on? Will you go? Do you trust Him?