“Nothing is impossible.” Out of context, this seems a challenging point of view. But if we go to its biblical context, Luke 1: 37, it gains credence: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Think of all the impossible acts Jesus did–healing the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, the Centurion’s servant, the woman with the issue of blood, the blind, the lame, and raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. Think of Moses who parted the Red Sea to free his people, of Elijah who healed a widow’s son, of the disciples, Peter and John, who rather than giving a beggar silver or gold, healed him. The Bible is full of impossibilities made possible.
But what about today? Are seeming impossibilities possible?
The one thread through these biblical happenings still present today is God, the Creator of all that is. In every biblical case spiritual power and presence were felt. The prophets, apostles, and those desiring to be lifted out of their distress expected God to heal. Unlike modern man who relies on his own inventions in preference to trusting God, these ancients found faith in the unseen and spiritual.
What would it take today for people to put God first? To not have any other gods before God as the first commandment states? For that matter, what would it take for people to apply the ten commandments in daily life?
According to NPR’s reporting of the Public Religion Research Institute, today, only 37% of Americans attend religious services weekly and, according to research, of those, not all actually attend but say they do to look good. Of course, one need not go to church, synagogue, or mosque to be close to God. Nature is a perfect spot to find Him/Her. Perhaps there are more religious adherents out there in the woods instead of in traditional buildings? Adherents also vary by state (Alabama has the most attendees and Vermont the least) and many Americans fall into the “none” category with no religious affiliation or interest. Religious believers are not easily measured, but I do wonder about the drop from half the U.S. population attending regularly in the late 1950s to just slightly over a third attending in 2023.
What does this reduction from 50% to 37% indicate? Are people no longer studying sacred texts or valuing religion and the morality it instills? It would seem so. Entertainment, accumulation of material things, working long hours to afford more stuff–such activities push out quiet, thoughtful prayer. Many children grow up not knowing what prayer is, what God is, or learning the moral precepts that underpin our Constitution and societal foundation. By trusting more in modern conveniences than in a God they cannot see or understand, many people today limit their possibilities.
Why expect God to heal sickness or rescue us from trouble? After all, we have a medicine for every conceivable ill–even drugs for diseases not yet invented! Why turn to God? Trusting God requires sincere, humble effort and often transformation of character; a pill is just a pop away. Plus the pill is tangible. We can’t hold faith in our hands nor swallow it; whereas, working to understand our relationship to God is on-going and demanding. But I have found it to be rich in possibilities.
Over many decades, listening to God has led me to find the right home, to accept the right job, to be healed of illness and accident, to help others, and to raise three children to bloom into caring adults. There are still many things I’d like to see demonstrated so I continue to study, pray, listen and learn, knowing that with God, all things good, right, and true are possible.
Artwork: Gray Skies, framed watercolor, approx. 30″ x 24″. Not yet back from the framer’s, this painting could have been inspired by all the rain we’ve been having here in Maine this summer, but it wasn’t. I like capturing the changing ocean skies; this one dominated by gray clouds. But here in Maine, drive a minute away from a stormy sky and you’ll find sunshine! Any weather is possible!