Motivated by the Impossible

With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
– Matthew 19:26b

After I graduated from one of the most prestigious institutions in America, the US Air Force Academy, I was filled with pride … too much, in fact.  One of my first assignments was to create project reports from an online database which I had never used.  I met the challenge head on as any new military officer would.

My reply to the task was: “If it is possible, I can figure out how to do it no matter what it is.”  One of my newest colleagues who was familiar with this system quickly took the cue to initiate some “mentorship.”  Perhaps the hero persona of this higher-ranking Afghanistan war veteran compelled him to save his troops from the crash that a rookie like me could have caused by flying blind.

The system didn’t crash.  He showed me a lot, and so did some computer experts I had the privilege of working with in northern Japan.  At my next base, I had the same attitude toward a similar challenge – this time with a lot more knowledge and even less humility.  Once again, the system we had couldn’t do what we needed and the red tape involved with replacing it could wrap around the world a hundred times.  After following the chain of command all the way up to the person responsible for this system across the entire Air Force, he explained that what we wanted to do was “not possible.”

What self-respecting company grade officer would accept that as an answer?  “Impossible? I’ll show you impossible!” A few months later I found a workaround solution and everybody was happy with the new process.  It saved some people a lot of work and gave others more control over the work they were interested in getting accomplished.

My intent here is not to boast of these accomplishments.  God has brought me a long way from that kind of big-headedness.  My point is that when others say something is impossible it is often because they cannot imagine many possibilities beyond their experience.  In that respect, inexperience is an advantage when guided properly.  With God’s leading and power, all things are possible.

The things I describe on this blog are part of my ongoing attempt to realize what may otherwise remain unknown and undone.  It is daunting to think of collecting biblical scholarship in such a way that you can see and analyze it all at once rather than picking through it a piece at a time.  It is a mountain of a challenge, but it is not impossible to move such mountains. Lord, help us!