As 2012 begins, we are almost intoxicated by the possibilities of the New Year. This year, my theme is: “With God, all thing are possible.” But what I realize is that most people interpret this idea differently than I do.
Since our faith is usually in our beliefs about God rather than God himself, what we really mean is: “With God, all things that I really want to happen are possible, but not things that I don’t want to happen, either because they force me to make radical changes to my lifestyle or because they challenge the very conception of God I hold to.” When our kids are the underdog in a sporting event we like the idea of possibility, that with God all things are possible. But when we are thinking about our views on gay marriage or whether we should spend more money on products that aren’t made by those who violate human rights, then, well, not everything is possible with God, obviously. The idea that we have misunderstood God or that we have been duped into an inappropriate view of God is not considered just as possible as that miracle job or investment.
In fact, most of us are afraid of this statement. We hide from what it means. It is an unnerving statement that forces us to radical trust, never knowing what is around the corner, never knowing how God might act (or if he will act). “With God, all things are possible,” is a statement about a God who is radically free, and as such, a God I cannot fully understand or predict. It is a statement about a God who is powerful enough to redeem all creation, yes, but who is also powerful enough to break out of all the boxes into which we have placed him. It is to recognize that possibility could mean healing and miracles, yes, but it could also mean pain and silence as well. After all, with God, all things are possible.
Perhaps this year will be a triumphant year where no tragedy occurs, my conception of God gets clearer and I get more confident in what I think of Jesus and his work. Maybe this year he won’t challenge my purchasing habits or how I treat strangers and people I find strange or threatening.
Or, perhaps, this year will end in confusion, pain, or loss, feeling abandoned by God. Perhaps this year I will keep or change my views on homosexuality, what the Bible is, or how I view religion and politics. But it does not really matter to me, so long as I boldly follow into the unknown, knowing that “With God, all things are possible.”
Oh when it is you, my God, who commands a father to murder his own child,
then a man at such a time is under terrible strain.”
Abraham, in SK’s adaptation of the Aqedah, Fear & Trembling
Are we like Abraham, ready to believe that we are to kill the very thing God has promised us?