Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 25, 2014

never beyond His ability

Last Friday, we had an unusual flight from Tampa.  My wife and I would probably explain the “unusualness” from different perspectives, but unusual it was.  Genel was trying to study, but was continually interrupted by two dogs and two babies that never stopped crying the entire flight. For her, it was an annoying adventure in flying.  The noise also distracted me, but I was confronted by someone from my past that thoroughly encouraged me.  As I sat down and buckled up for the flight, I exchanged greetings with the gentlemen next to me. After a few moments and curious looks, we realized that we knew each other. It had been at least 23 years since we last saw each other, so obviously there were a few “gray” areas that caused us to hesitate! After renewing acquaintances, we talked about his mom and sisters, who I also knew well.

The especially encouraging part of our discussion centered on his sharing that both he and his wife had come to faith in Christ while in a ministry that I directed. Today, they are active in church and serving in leadership roles. I was stunned and blessed all at the same time.  At that point in our lives, Genel and I were leading a ministry that had been a leap of faith. I had been asked to take a ministry position that was beyond my comfort zone and training, but in His will. Humanly speaking, it was a risk for me to take the position as it demanded things that were beyond anything I had ever achieved.

I firmly believe that God often places us in positions that are beyond us, but never beyond His ability.  Have you ever faced a situation sensing that it was “impossible” or “beyond your ability?”  Is there anything in your life today that requires more faith than sight?  Living in our comfort zones and doing only what we feel capable of doing may mean that we are keeping Him at arm’s length.  Faith will stretch us.

I would dare say, everyone knows the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. It was a miracle of dramatic proportions.  In fact, it’s the only miracle apart from the Resurrection that is recorded in all four gospels. As I was re-reading it Saturday, the words of Jesus to His disciples leapt off the page at me. Jesus had compassion on the large crowd, and taught them. Late in the afternoon His disciples wanted Him to send the crowd away so they could buy something to eat. But Jesus said, “You feed them.” (Mark 6:37)  Talk about asking the disciples to do the impossible! There is so much to learn from this incredible miracle, but for once my eyes focused solely on, “You feed them.”

  It seems to me that Christ wanted to emphasize the disciple’s inability, and His ability. The men did what I would do, they started to count the unaffordable cost of providing food. If not careful, you and I look at every faith stretching, comfort zone removing opportunity by calculating costs that we feel we either can’t, or don’t want to pay.  The disciple’s inability was no match for Christ’s ability, and the people were fed. How easy it is for us to miss His ability on display when we refuse to take steps of faith.

We all stand today looking forward in the direction of the future. Will our futures be dictated by sight and what we can accomplish, or by faith and what He wants to accomplish? All Christ-followers should seek faith-stretching opportunities that depend on His ability. It has been almost thirty years since my wife and I took a risk. I wonder if we would take that same chance again. Getting older seems to make us more security-oriented, but meeting miracles on a plane reminds that God’s ability is what we should all trust … not ours!


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