We get discouraged. We develop the wrong attitude - complain, doubt, lose hope. Some even give up.
Been there. Done that.
Last week I learned something that put a huge wrench in plans for one of our family's dreams. We faced the exact same impossibility four years ago within a few months of moving to Memphis and at that time I became panicked, worried, disappointed, frustrated, and quite frankly, angry. I was angry because we were radically obedient and things weren't turning out the "way they were supposed to" (as if God has to listen to my failed master plan). And I was angry because we listened to someone in ministry with financial wisdom who gave us bad advise that led to the impossibility we were facing just months after moving. What I didn't know then, was God was using that bad advise to keep us from an even greater financial fall that could have taken place.
Yet, last week after finding out the exact same financial situation was facing us, I woke up so excited about the impossibility of moving forward with our family's dream. God loves impossibilities! Here are 5 things that have helped me have the right attitude towards impossibilities and even be excited and celebrate them:
1. Don't look at what you see in the natural
This is hard! Because when you look around, everything you see points to how whatever it is you are praying for CANNOT happen. But don't focus on what you see.
Read Exodus 14:10-14 and Daniel 6:20-23. And these are just 2 examples of impossibilities turning into God being faithful and glorified.
In Exodus the Israelites were obedient and left Egypt only to have the Egyptians change their mind and come after them. The Israelites were being chased and hit a dead end at the Red Sea. What they saw in the natural looked impossible. BUT GOD! We all know the story - God parted the Red Sea so they could walk right through it on dry ground into the Promised Land. If you haven't heard the song "Graves into Gardens," my favorite line is: "you turned seas into highways...You're the only one who can!" Are you facing a dead end and something feels impossible? Awesome! He can and will turn that sea into a highway for you to walk right through the impossibility into the Promised Land.
In Daniel 6 the Lord sent an angel who shut the mouths of the lions. While it looked impossible for Daniel to survive being thrown in a den filled with lions, he came out with no marks on his body despite in the natural being faced with a painful death.
Don't react emotionally based on what you see in the natural. He is building your faith to not depend on what you see! What is the definition of faith?
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:11, KJV
2. Hold on to the covenant/promise and remember God hears your cries and remembers His covenants
In Exodus 5 Moses was obedient and went to Pharaoh to ask for the Israelites to be freed. He did just as the Lord instructed. And what happened? It got worse for the Israelites. They were made to continue with the work they were doing (making bricks) but instead of them having the materials supplied to them, they had to also go gather the straw needed...and still make the same amount of bricks as when the straw was provided to them. They were enslaved and oppressed even harder, despite Moses' obedience. So things in the natural got worse for them, despite being obedient to what the Lord said.
You may be in this situation. You are being obedient and things just keep getting worse and further away from the impossible promise.
Hold on to these verses - write them down - post them all around your house if you have to: "I also established my covenant with them [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant." Exodus 6:4-5 NIV, emphasis added
Hold on to these 2 promises: He hears your groaning and he remembers his promise! Delay does not mean denial. Keep crying out and hold on to His promises, despite what you see and despite the impossibilities increasing.
3. Get people around you who believe
I would NEVER have made it this far without the people in my life who have encouraged me and pushed me to continue, despite the fire and pressing.
Which by the way - that fire is purifying you so you have pure motives and that pressing is producing oil for the anointing you will need where He is taking you. That is a whole different blog for a different day.
But to the point at hand, it is so important that you surround yourself with people who are going hold your arms up when you get tired. If you surround yourself with "nay-sayers" and negative people, that will be contagious. Find yourself people who will speak the hard things to you. The people who will not let you give up.
"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." Exodus 17:10-13, NIV
Joshua was only able to defeat the Amalekite and accomplish the impossible because Moses had friends surrounding him that held his arms up when he grew tired. I pray often that God will send me Aaron's and Hur's to hold my arms up when I grow weary.
You were not meant to fight alone. You were created for relationship. Learn to overcome fears of trusting people and become vulnerable by allowing the right person in to help stand in the gap with you.
4. Open your mouth and speak to the impossibility
Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that there is life and death in our words.
The other day I was counseling one of the sex trafficking survivors that I have worked with for 7 years. She was spewing negativity and cursing. My natural reaction was to go into prayer over her. But the Spirit hushed me and I said to her, "I am not going to pray for you. You have the word and the truth in you. You have to learn to open your own mouth and speak against the things you are warring with."
Yes, other people can pray for you and that is important like we talked about. But you also need to learn to open your mouth and speak to the mountain in front of you, in Jesus' all powerful name. You may say, well I don't have that warring personality. I am quiet. There is power in a whisper when you say the name of Jesus!
Open your mouth and verbally speak truth to the impossibility. I believe the enemy has shut people's mouth because he knows there is power in the spoken word. Open your mouth right now and speak truth to what feels impossible.
Here is an exercise for you. Write down the impossibility and go to the word of God and find a scripture verse that support the Lord working out that impossibility for His good and write that verse next to the impossibility. Post it around your house and SPEAK IT OUT LOUD over that impossibility.
Don't just read this, try it. It works! You will find the more you start speaking the truth over that impossibility, the more you will believe and the better your attitude will be because there is power in your spoken words.
5. Trust in the Lord and His divine plan
Lastly, don't trust in man, trust in the Lord. If you are depending on or looking to man to "solve" your impossibility, you will get discouraged.
Now this may seem contrary to what I said in point 3. The purpose of point 3 is to surround yourself with people while you are in battle to encourage you to keep believing and keep fighting, not to "solve" your impossibility. There is a distinction.
There may be things the Lord has promised to you and a scheme of the enemy is for us to get wrapped up in being dependent on people helping you "make it happen" and not the Lord. And then we get discouraged when we don't see things moving. We trust in the Lord but we don't trust in man being obedient because people have failed us.
Yes, God will use His children to move His plans forward but ultimately, even if people aren't obedient and they fail to listen, God's divine plan will come to pass. We can't always trust in man, but we can trust in the Lord and His divine plan. And we have to remind ourselves that despite what man does or doesn't do, God has a divine plan that will come to pass in His perfect timing. And when it does happen He gets the glory that He shares with no one!
Be encouraged, brothers and sisters, to remain strong in the midst of impossibilities. Keep the faith. Keep the right attitude.