Grace for the impossible

By Leanne Payne
from her newsletter archives, March, 1987
There are a few things in life more comforting than Christian friends who understand what ministry on a fallen planet is all about. Through the years, Carol Kraft (Professor of German, Wheaton College) has sent cards or cartoons that ever after find a place on the wall of my workspace for ready referral when needed. She is a treasured confidant, one in whom I can confide my deepest concerns, for she is not only a true friend, but one who has learned how to listen. She really hears whatever it is I’m struggling to put into words, then has the knack of finding a picture message that either exactly expresses it, or helps me to come to terms with the difficulty. One such card is reproduced below (marked as an original by Desclozeaux to give the proper credit), and it certainly illustrates the miraculous as we Christians so often experience it:

Isn’t that wonderful! It would be difficult to find a truer picture of the sheer grace God gives us to not only overcome, but survive the impossible; or one of how this grace is experienced: as we inch, a straight and steady line through a fallen, hostile world to our true home.

I’m sure there are many of you, who, like myself, are facing the impossible in terms of what God has called you to do and to be. Perhaps calamity, in the form of circumstances so irrational and dark that they could only have been engineered by the powers of darkness, is even now barreling towards you. The blow is calculated to maim or to crush, to stop you right in your tracks. But God’s message to His own is ever the same:  “My power, and the strength that I give you, is sufficient. Call upon it, ask for it, see if I will not cause all grace to abound toward you!” Saint Paul knew and taught with all his might this great truth:  “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (II Cor 9:8)

The word that Saint Paul uses to describe the grace of God is polupoikilos which means many-colored. William Barkley, commenting on Eph 3:8-13 says that, “The idea in this word is that the grace of God will match with any situation which life may bring us. There is nothing of light or dark, of sunshine or of shadow, for which it is not triumphantly adequate.” No matter what we are struggling with, as ministers, or as suffering persons who desperately need forgiveness and healing, God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus, with implicit faith in the Father, said it all, when He looked directly at his troubled disciples, and said:  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)

Reprinted with permission, copyright ©1999-2023 by Leanne Payne Literary Trust