In the early hours of an August morning I found myself all alone in a hospital room recovering from emergency surgery in a city far from home. Pain throbbed throughout my torso. I lay in the bed, lethargic and feeling green like the Jell-O on the rolling cart next to me (the phosphorous smell of the scrambled eggs the nurse had just left was a nice touch).
I forced myself out of bed and, for the first time, I slowly walked to the window to look outside. It had been five days since I had seen anything beyond a hospital ceiling or wall. When I got to the window, I was shocked at what I saw in the sky. Like a cartoon character, I felt the need to blink my eyes really big to make sure that what I was seeing was really reality. There, framed by a bank of clouds, written in giant white letters across the bright blue sky was the word “LOVE.” My heart skipped a beat.
After marveling at the sight awhile, I glanced away for a moment. When I looked back out the window I gasped. Like it was a whole new canvas, the sky now said in giant white writing the word “GOD.” You know, just in case I doubted that the love letter was from Him.
The following weeks found me back home regaining my strength and appetite and acquainting myself with my new stack of medical bills. One September afternoon I walked out to my mailbox and found a letter with the hospital’s logo on it. I noticed that across the top of the envelope stamped in red ink it said, “Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.” I opened the envelope and read the letter. “Consistent with our philosophy, [our hospital] endeavors to provide quality health care to meet the needs of all people in the community it serves…Based on our review of your [account], be advised…your balance is now $100.00.”
This was completely unexpected. Tears streamed down my face as I stood in my driveway trying to comprehend the letter. I felt so humbled, so unworthy, so keenly aware of the extravagance and grace of my God.
I would have been paying off that bill for the rest of my life.
These encounters with the impossible not only rocked my world in the moment, they live on in their remembrance to remind me who my God is and how powerful and capable He is. Impossibilities along the way of life have shored in and expanded my belief in and understanding of God; they’ve built in me an innate knowing—beyond words on a page—that with God all things are possible.
The sixth chapter of the book of John has a lot to say about the relationship between the impossible and belief. The chapter covers a portion of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, and in verse two we read that “a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick” (NIV). More miracles happen when Jesus feeds this crowd of five thousand men with only five barley loaves and two fish, and afterwards not only is everyone full, but there are twelve baskets of leftover barley loaves. Verse fourteen tells us, “After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’” (NIV) The next day these same crowds tracked down Jesus and “asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’ So they asked him, ‘What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?’” (6:28-30 NIV). Remember, this is the same crowd of people He had just fed via a miracle and who were following Him “because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.”
Apparently, seeing isn’t believing.
Jesus says, “My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (6:40 NIV, emphasis added).
Sadly, we later read that “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (6:66 NIV). They had seen the impossible, but they did not believe. Jesus asks the Twelve if they, too, want to stop following Him, and Peter asserts, “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (6:69 NIV). Some will see the impossible and believe. Some will see the impossible and still not believe. Jesus tells us, “No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them” (6:65 NIV) and “unless the Father who sent me draws them” (6:44 NIV).
I notice three kinds of reactions to miracles throughout the New Testament: belief in Jesus leading to a deeper faith/joy/marvel/appreciation/assurance/understanding (i.e. Luke 8:38-39; 17:15-16, 19; John 1:48-50; 9:30-33, 38; Acts 3:8-10); unbelief in Jesus leading to rage/opposition/grumbling (i.e. Luke 6:10-11; 8:37; John 6:43; 9:34; 12:10-11); and unbelief in Jesus resulting in indifference (i.e. Luke 17:17-18; John 9:20-23).
It is the same today. Mercy, Lord. I praise Him that my encounters with the impossible have left me with a deeper belief in Jesus. Who am I that my God would (repeatedly) make a way where there is no way? I am grateful that He has drawn me to Him and enabled me to come and see. I am grateful, too, for the expanding effect of witnessing the impossible—His love letters to me have led me to see more and more of the glorious impossible in everyday life: in my reading of Scripture, in my beholding of nature, in a friend’s salvation, in a traveling mercy, in…everything.
“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance…”
—Matthew 13:12 KJV
Destiny Teasley lives in Nevada, where she is a lover of the arts, pop culture, and travel (you'll often find her daydreaming about being in Israel or Disneyland). She delights in encountering beauty in the world and helping others to see and celebrate it for themselves. Destiny studied at Baylor, UNLV, Oxford, and Dallas Theological Seminary. You can find more of her writing at her blog,whentherockscryout.com .