When I taught middle school in Texas, Lori was one of my special education students. She had a contagious personality and a beautiful spirit—and when she was thrilled about something, her brown, curly hair shook, jived, and jiggled like something out of a 1970s disco.
One afternoon Lori rushed toward me with her hair dancing and thrust a piece of paper into my hand. “Look, Miss Schutte! I drew a picture of the devil!”
I didn’t know what to say. All of my typical teacher-to-student affirmations would have been inappropriate. So in an attempt to put a positive spin on a negative topic, I mustered a smile and exclaimed, “Wow! Why don’t you draw a picture of God?”
Lori’s blue eyes grew dark, and she scowled. Her eyebrows pushed together in the middle of her forehead as if they had been bobby pinned there. She shuffled her feet, looked at the ground, and finally lifted her eyes to meet mine. “Well—well—no; I can’t draw that good,” she said.
My heart melted. How profound and how true! This is the God of the Bible. He can’t be “drawn” because He can’t be defined—and this is the God who enables ordinary people to do extraordinary things for Him.
He enabled Noah to build an ark, Peter to walk on water, and Joshua to participate in a march that made the walls of Jericho come tumbling down. What Moses, Peter, and Joshua knew that we sometimes forget is that the impossible is always accomplished by the God of the impossible.
In our American “it’s-all-up-to-you” society, we have bought into the lie that the entirety of our success depends on us, and we are like one man who said, “I built my life and I succeed or fail because of me.” We forget that God puts down one and exalts another (Psalm 75:17) and that God is the one who stoops “down to make me great” (Psalm 18:35). Unfortunately, we believe that if we are talented enough and try hard enough that we will succeed, that it’s all up to us.
But it’s not.
And there is a beautiful thing that happens when we embrace our limitations and believe in God’s strength: We will have the courage to do the impossible. The person who believes it’s all up to them will be limited by what they believe they can do. But the person who believes in the God who equips is the one who will step into a challenging place when He calls. They don’t back themselves into a place of defeat by saying, “Well, I can’t do that because. . .,” because they know it’s not all about them. They won’t be limited by what they can’t do, because their confidence will be in the God who can do anything. They know that as they plan, and work, that God’s strength will fill in the gaps of their inadequacies. They are confident that He will give them what they need to build the boat, walk on water, or make walls come tumbling down.
When you are confident in Lori’s indefinable, all-together powerful God, and you realize that your God-given mission is not defined by your inadequacies, you can attempt to do the impossible—and God can work through you to do His work. In fact, those who feel like the most unlikely candidates to do anything for God are those who are strategically positioned by Him to accomplish something for Him. As David Platt wrote in his book, “Radical” “He [God] is giving unlikely people power so it is clear who deserves the glory for the success that takes place.”
Will you choose to have the faith to believe that God is bigger than what you are not?