| from Lauren Roman |
Trick question! It’s both. “God uses the unlikely to do the impossible” is a saying my pastor reiterates every so often in his sermons. Not because it’s a catchy phrase, but because it’s a recurring theme in God’s Word. We see it in who He chooses, who He uses, and the miraculous things He does through these unlikely, ordinary people!
“God uses the unlikely to do the impossible” is more than a saying.
It’s a foundational concept that helps us understand who we are in Christ.
Think about Mary, the expectant mother of Jesus. Who was she? Certainly not the perfect, porcelain-faced, beneficent, motherly woman we usually see in nativity scenes. Mary was a young virgin, probably a teenager, who was told by an angel she would conceive by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God. (Amazing!) But, to the casual observer, she was a supposed virgin who got pregnant before she was married. This scenario would’ve brought crushing shame in her culture. It would’ve sent Joseph running to the hills, not to the altar!
But Mary doesn’t react to her soon-to-be “shameful” circumstances with shame, nor does Joseph. They believe what God tells them, and they obey. Sounds simple enough, but that kind of trust is so exceptional, so profound, it’s clearly Spirit-empowered. When heavenly revelations and faithful obedience result in a real-world situation that is so impossible, so supernatural, it’s truly unbelievable to everyone except those who received their own adjunct revelation… it is not going to be an easy road!
Yet Mary rejoiced when she got the news. This unlikely, ordinary girl would give birth to the Savior of mankind!!! She responded with extraordinary faith.
In contrast, consider the story of an older woman who had lived enough years to know, beyond any doubt, that she was barren. In Genesis Ch. 16, Sarai believed she would never be able to give birth to the offspring God had promised Abram. So she decided to “help God out” and give her slave Hagar to Abram, for Hagar to be impregnated as a surrogate! (Spoiler alert: this clever plan did not turn out well.)
In Ch. 17, God makes a new covenant with the newly-named Abraham, including the promise of a son by the also-renamed Sarah, despite their old age. But Sarah had hoped for this news so desperately, for so many decades, the disappointment of unfulfilled hope had finally broken her. She stopped hoping.
So when Sarah hears she will finally bear Abraham a son – this old woman who could not possibly have children – how does she react? She laughs!
Sarah and Mary were both told of an upcoming pregnancy when it was humanly impossible. Apparently, how one reacts in such a situation is directly proportionate to the strength of one’s hope and trust in God. As He pointedly asked, in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” – not a trick question. Nothing is impossible for God! Nothing. No. Thing.
Sarah and Mary had a very different amount of life experience… I suspect this had quite an influence on their very different reactions to their respective pregnancy news.
Whether young or mature, we all have spiritual blind spots now and then. We will until we get to heaven!
So, next time your child thinks they’re too young or not “special” enough for God to use them, help them learn about someone in the Bible who proves quite the opposite. You have a wide selection of examples from which to choose!
Or, next time you’re feeling a little too “wise” for that far-fetched idea your child believes is from God, let’s not automatically assume you’re right and they’re wrong. Explore the subject… take it to Him in prayer and in His Word.
And you’re welcome to borrow one of my favorite sayings, anytime. I’ve had this bit of inspirational-calendar wisdom tucked in my brain since my late teens:
“Never tell a young person something cannot be done. God may have been waiting countless centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do that very thing.”
Lauren Roman is an enthusiastic encourager, creative communicator and truth teller who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began as a “soap star” in her teens (ABC’s All My Children) and now encompasses speaking, singing and writing – all to inspire others toward true identity and counter-cultural freedom in Christ. As Lauren shares from her own life with bold transparency, emotion, humor and humility, interweaving practical biblical insights, hearts are engaged and stirred to change.
In addition to her work as an Associate Writer and Speaker for Celebrate Kids, Lauren keynotes live and virtual events for women, youth and multi-generational ministries throughout the US and beyond. For more information, visit: laurenroman.com