Living In and Through Your Impossibilities!

Impossible with man

Everywhere I turn lately, and I mean everywhere, I am seeing and experiencing impossibilities! On a national level, I see the impossibility of our trying to permanently solve domestic abuse issues. I see the impossibility of our laws and courts to legislate racial harmony.

Locally and personally, I experience the impossibility of seeing the issues and biting problems of communities, families, and bad relationships issues solved by people participating in the Good News of God: Father, Son and Spirit. I have learned the impossibility of trying to use apologetics and healing to prove and convince people of God. I know the impossibility of  trying to solve some of my thorniest and bone-weary problems, including getting a house sold and rented properly for more than 18 years after moving from it for the sake of Jesus calling me into His practical pastoral ministry in another state! hmpf! And being middle-aged, I am learning the impossibility of so much more than that “small stuff” I just mentioned…hahaha… (anyone 40 and above feeling me?!)

AND, in God’s good grace, I am learning that this is REALLY all Good News! Ha!


Well, as Andrew Root writes about in his book entitled “Taking Theology to Youth Ministry”:

“The Church has often confessed that creation itself is ex nihilo, “out of nothingness”….The God of the burning bush [God: Father, Son and Spirit] reveals Godself out of human impossibility. Sarah is ninety, Abraham is impotent, Moses is a stutterer, and David is too young and small to be considered. God reveals Godself next to nothingness and impossibility; the breaking in of God often happens next to human weakness and yearning, in the backward and hidden (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is here that God moves; it is here that God is revealed; it is here that Gospel and mission are linked. God’s mission is to enter our impossibilities with the goodness that from the act of God a new reality in the love of God is breaking forth.

So, when we ask…’What is God up to in your life, where is God moving?'” we are compelled to look for God’s action in the kinds of places God is revealed. We look for God in places of brokenness, yearning, and suffering, places where God takes these deaths upon Godself for the sake of life. God is active at the places of our raw humanity. It is here, in our raw humanity, that we enter gospel and mission, that gospel and mission are held together. For the God of creation, the God [Father, Son and Spirit], the God who hears the groaning of God’s people, acts where there is the scent of nothingness. The God of exodus acts in those places where we are held captive, revealing Godself so death might be overcome with life.” pp.87-88

Footnoting the late Ray Anderson on this topic, Andrew quotes Ray who writes, “Why did the Lord wait until Moses was eighty years old, a failure and fugitive, with no possibilities? Because the element of human possibility must be removed. The people were powerless and helpless. They cried out to the Lord. Moses was chosen to be the redeemer because he was also without power on the human level. Moses understood that this “powerlessness” is itself a necessary ingredient in the chemistry of divine grace.” The Soul of Ministry, 45.

\May this Advent season for the Church, or season of focusing on the Coming of God: Father, Son and Spirit, in Jesus Christ, be a reminder and encouragement to you that God comes to us in our nothingness; our sin, death and hells. Our impossibilities. And He comes not at our initiative (our initiative is long dead and broken in sin!), but in his own initiative to bring forth his own future by His own Coming.

So as you and I believers enter into and participate in the suffering and death of this world with Father, through Jesus, and by the Spirit, no matter our age or circumstance,

“…we embody the promise that God is acting to bring forth God’s kingdom. Our hope is not that our efforts can make the world a better place. Our hope is in the action of God to open our eyes to see the small-but-sure ways God’s new reality is breaking forth.” – Andrew Root, Taking Theology To Youth Ministry, p.69

“[The end times and last things]…has finally not to do with the best that we can hope for in this world, but with a new world which will be brought into being only when God wills and acts to do so.” Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart, Hope Against Hope: Christian Eschatology at the Turn of the Millennium, p.174

(In a related thought, though many people have been have been MISUNDERSTANDING and making fun of Janay Rice’s comment that she and NFL husband Ray Rice’s recent domestic violence incident was “God’s Plan!”, I suspect God: Father, Son and Spirit has shown up, and out, and IN the Rice’s impossibility. He loves creating possibilities out of our nothingness!)

– tjbrassell



8 comments so far

  1. jkharri4 on

    This is so reassuring and comforting so THANK YOU!! I truly live each day now praying, “Lord not my will but yours be done in my life” because I HAVE EXPERIENCED HIM AND KNOW HIM in areas and circumstances in my life and the lives of my family members that seem impossible to our human eyes…in our “nothingness; our sin, death and hells. Our impossibilities” he is VERY PRESENT AND ACTING!! So truly no need for stress and worry. All I can do is gasp in delight at how wonderful and loving he is. I imagine at those times we truly see his Grace. As Torrance pointed out “And the father answered the cry of his son from the depths, answered not in word only but in deed, answered by resurrecting Jesus from the dead as his own son with whom he kept faith and truth even in the midst of judgement and death. “Thou art my beloved son.” But that is the answer that God directs to us all in the gospel for Jesus’ sake, that through Jesus the son of God became our brother, we may be restored to faith and trust in the heavenly father. Through sharing brotherhood with the incarnate son of God, we share with him also one and the same father Almighty.” Thanks Pastor T

    • tjbrassell on

      Dear Karen,

      Thanks for your very in-depth response, flowing out of your living encounter with Jesus. I sure appreciate the Torrance references which have a way of declaring the Gospel in inspiring ways to me also! Forever gasping with you!

      Peace, Love and Every Blessing,


  2. Naomi Fata on

    God has been teaching me so much about this the last couple of years. I feel I have only begun to see how He uses our inability, our nothingness and through HIM makes impossible possible.

    • tjbrassell on

      Greetings Naomi!

      Thanks for responding and expressing your identification with the subject at hand! I agree – we are only beginning to see Him bring possibility out of our nothingness! At the same time we want to speak the profound words that He would be worthy of, we also find yourselves speechless in the glory of it all!

      May our wonder of Him continue to produce in us a worthy “Shout!” and “Silence” and may you continue to know Him intimately as our One and only real Possibility!

      Peace, Joy and Every Blessing,


  3. Lisa Bendele on

    I so much love reading your posts, Tim. They read just like I remember how you talk. I especially liked this message because it explains a lot about what has been happening in my life lately. To make a long story short, because you know I am a talker, He had to break me down to be able to reach me. Make me into nothing, as you have explained here. And then when I started to ask why, and no one could answer my questions, except with a question, which I really don’t need, that is when HE actually sent me a really special person who explained so much to me. Believe me when I say she is a Godsend. Thank you for your message, and keep on.

    • tjbrassell on

      Hello Lisa!

      Thanks for your supportive response! I appreciate the vulnerability in your comments. What strength, courage and humility He is releasing within and through us as He does the “impossible”, fashioning Life out of deaths! I am so grateful for the tangible expression of Love He bestowed on you by sending you a friend! Sound just like Him in His personal way of addressing us.

      It’s incredible what He can do with our questions, whether He answers them, ignores them, or asks us additional ones…hahaha…

      I am delighted at any encouragement and affirmation of His Love in you I get to participate in so, you’re welcome!

      Peace, Love and Every Blessing,


  4. Jeffen on

    Time and time again I have found myself in absolutely impossible situations, many of which I, myself, am responsible for. Then -at just the right time- the door that I was convinced was eternally locked opened. Sure, sometimes it opened with a slow ‘creeeeaaaak’, but usually the door was thrown open suddenly while a blast of refreshing air nearly knocked me off of my feet! But while we wait, and believe you me – I have often questioned God in these times that can be so filled with anxieties, often there are things happening that we do not see, and may never see. I believe that sometimes Papa is making something work for the good of someone else that is somehow connected to our situation. But be at peace, there are things working behind those closed doors, and He will make the situation work for your good. Sometimes you just have to rest in that promise.

    Hopefully that will encourage someone.

    • tjbrassell on

      Wow Jeff!

      All I can say is what great encouragement of God in our raw humanity, and, “Even so, Come Lord Jesus, Come!” 🙂

      Love and Like You Much!


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