Years ago, when I was in college, one of my professors,
the wonderful Dr. O. Cope Budge, was writing suggested term paper topics on the
blackboard. One of them caught my attention immediately – It was "The
Virgin Birth." I was concerned about that topic for two reasons: 1) For
some reason, I could not believe in the Virgin Birth, a fact which I kept hidden
from everyone, and tended to hide it even from myself, and 2) the Lord was
"prompting" me to choose precisely THAT topic as my (His) subject for the
Even though in those years I often stumbled on areas of
unbelief in my heart, I also tried with all I had to follow the Lord. That was
why I left a 14-year civil service job to return to "Bible College" in the first
place. I wanted to follow God, and this was the place where He led me. And yet
here I was, in an "impossible" situation – To be honest, I simply didn’t believe
in the Virgin Birth, and felt I was about to be exposed as a fraud; or so I
Off I went, approaching the topic like I do everything
else - full bore! I went to the college library and surrounded myself initially
with ten-or-so books on the subject. I wrote notes and jotted-down quotes from
famous authors. I remember very well my shock that so many of the "theologians"
I encountered, believed far less than I did. They were supposed to be
“believers,” but a large number of them apparently were not.
But some did believe and I somehow knew that the Virgin
Birth was the truth, no matter how small my capacity to believe might be. I
worked hard, and when I wrote, the Lord was with me. When I turned on the car
radio, they were talking about the Virgin Birth, and it wasn’t even Christmas!
Dr. J. Vernon McGee was the best, giving insights into the Hebrew and Greek
words for "virgin", just when I needed them most. Weeks later, I turned in that
20-page or so paper, and the wonder of it all was this: At the moment I handed
the paper across the desk to Dr. Budge, I suddenly realized I now BELIEVED in
the Virgin Birth. God had used those circumstances to HEAL my unbelief.
2000 years ago, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was
experiencing strong emotions in relation to the words of the angel. She was
awestruck at his words, but received the information with: BELIEF. That is
clearly seen in her response to the angel: "Behold the
maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke
1:38). She believed, even though she was about to become, from the perspective
of this world, an unwed mother. The news the angel gave her was shocking at the
very least: She would be pregnant when she was not yet fully married, in a place
and time when it was likely she would be killed by outraged townspeople. It was
possible, even likely that she was about to die for her faith.
I have been privileged to meet quadriplegic Veterans at
the Spinal Code Unit of the VA Hospital, giving what is for me a more complete
definition of the word "courage." Most would not emotionally survive the sudden
loss of the use of their bodies, and yet, here are men and women, courageously
going on in the face of such great loss. I am convinced it is God who gets them
through, even when they don’t know it. And that is the common thread that ties
us to our Scripture for today. Whatever our problem in life is: unbelief, the
likelihood of ostracism and death, or the sudden loss of everything we hold dear
- "Nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke
1:37). God can get us through! He can and will heal us. He gives us His
direction for our lives, and then He Himself makes it happen.
Some time ago, we attended a "mission" Church in another
area of the city in which we live. The Pastor and his wife had just "signed on
the dotted line" and the building was theirs. They had worked hard, tearing out
walls and attending to a myriad of details to get the place ready for God’s use
in the lives of people. This dignified couple (he is a retired college Dean) has
a dream that has been given to them by the Lord.
In the evening of that same day, we went to see and hear
a singing group, at a place which was like a Cathedral, by comparison. After the
music of that evening, we strolled through the adjoining art gallery, viewed the
creative statuary in that place, and listened to the sounds of lovely fountains.
We saw the result of another dream, given to others of God’s people, only this
dream was fully developed. The one from the morning was a "start-up" version of
a concept expressed to God’s people. As to the first dream (the one from the
morning service), the Pastor had about ten people in attendance. In the other
church, thousands were present on that very day. But the one dream is no less a
gift from God than the other. The first can best be seen in the minds of the
Pastor, His wife, and in the heart of God. In the other, we see the realization
of what God has promised.
God can place a dream (a vision) in your heart, and, if
you are willing to act on it, He will fulfill that dream, changing your life and
the lives of all those you meet. Our Lord can make the impossible into the
POSSIBLE. And He WANTS to do it – for you! Remember Joel’s prophesy about the
Church: "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons
and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams, your young
men shall see visions; and also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will
pour out My Spirit in those days" (Joel 2:28-29). His promise is to us
In the Cathedral of the evening, we viewed a truly
lovely manger scene, and in it we saw a rendition of the Christ, the Son of the
living God. Our God came into history, through the woman Mary, and He took human
form. He identified with the people He served, even to the point of dying a
terrible, shameful death so that we might live. It was "impossible"
for Mary to have that Baby because she was indeed a virgin. It is "impossible"
for quadriplegics to lead normal, reasonably contented, productive lives – but
many do. It was "impossible" for my unbelief to be
healed. I didn’t heal anything – HE did! God can and will do anything,
especially in two key areas: 1) He will act to bring appropriate glory to His
Name, and 2) He will change us INFINITELY for the better, when we are willing to
live for the Son of God.
No matter how LOW our lives might have gone. No matter
how old or young; "insufficient" though we may be, "nothing
will be impossible with God", in your life or mine. Whatever our pain,
our sorrow, God can and WILL get us through. Let us trust in Him, RECEIVE the
promise He gives, and go forth in His Name. And we will, in the power and love
Father. We repent of our sin, our unbelief, and we
receive Your Son. Forgive us our sin. We receive Your Word. We trust in You.
Fill us, Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name. Amen.