The Impossible, Please.

February 11th Sunday Readings.

One of my children’s favorite books when they were little was “Papa, Please Get the 27454Moon for Me.” It is a beautifully written and illustrated book by Eric Carle. The basic premise is a child asks their father for the moon and he gets it. My children loved this book because they realized that the request was unreasonable and impossible. Yet, they also delighted in the idea that the impossible, just might happen. I liked the book because the dad is a hero.
What is interesting about he book to me is that it speaks to some truth of childhood. Sometimes small children will ask, without irony, for something that is seemingly impossible. When they ask they don’t hesitate. Whether it is a pony, a 2nd trip to Disney the day you get home from the last trip, or a new sibling, little children don’t shy away from asking for something big.
In the gospel, the man with leprosy asks Jesus for something impossible. Yes, he asks Jesus to heal his untreatable disease. But more than that, he asks Jesus to restore his place in society. He asks to be welcomed back into a community from which he was excluded because of his disease.
Jesus’ first miracle isn’t curing the man. Before Jesus removes his leprosy, he reaches out and touches the man. In reality, I bet there was a gasp from the crowd. People may have been shocked that Jesus poke to the man, but that Jesus would touch him was, well, impossible.
The man with leprosy asked for something that no one could do. He asked for the impossible. And Jesus fulfilled that request.
When we pray, what do we ask God for? Often we temper our requests before we even ask. We often ask God for the reasonable and possible. I think we temper our request because we are scared of being let down by God. We are fearful that if we ask big, God won’t pull through and our faith will be shaken. So how do we ask God for a God-sized miracle without risk? We can’t. Asking for the impossible takes a risk on our part.
What we can do is put all of it God’s hands. We can, like the leprous man, ask first that God’s will be done. Just as he says, “If you wish, you can make me clean,” we can say, if it is your will, grant this request Lord. Whatever we ask for, whether it is the moon or something just as impossible, we must do so with God’s will in mind.
LIVE IT:
What is the impossible that you would like to ask God for? A miraculous healing? Healing a broken relationship? Forgiving the unforgiveable? Whatever it is, ask. Ask for that God sized thing. Say something like, “God, I know if you will it, you can……..and in all thing Your will be done!”

Ask Anyway.

The Good Word for January 17 ~ for the complete Sunday readings click here.

What’s the best advice you have ever received? I’ve received lots of advice and wisdom over the years. All of it was well intentioned; some of it was actually helpful. Statements like, “Never play cards for money with a man who has the same first name as a city,” seems to be helpful, but only for specific situations.

Other advice seems to apply more broadly. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been told is, “Go ahead and ask; let them say no. Don’t answer for anyone else. Ask anyway.” In other words, sometimes we don’t even ask for something we want or need because we believe the answer will be no. The answer could still be no, but ask. Following this advice is how I got my first girlfriend and probably why I often eat two cookies when the sign says, “take one.” So results may vary, I guess.

In the gospel, Mary asks Jesus to help with a very delicate situation. The wine has run out at this wedding feast. Wedding celebrations could last multiple days in ancient Israel; to run out of wine meant the party was over and was a major embarrassment. She went to Jesus, explained the problem, and he told her no. But then he helped.

A friend of mine asked the question, “Did Mary know that Jesus would make more wine? Did she know he could change water into wine? Did she know that he could do this miracle?” This got me thinking. I don’t think Jesus just regularly was doing miracles at home. He probably wasn’t transforming stuff around the house. “Look mom, I dusted by turning all the dust bunnies into real bunnies!” No. Mary didn’t know how Jesus would help. But she trusted that Jesus would help.

Mary asked.

Sometimes we answer for God. We say, “God’s too busy for my little problem,” or, “God doesn’t actually do things just because he is asked.” Sometimes we use past experiences of not getting exactly what we want to stop us from asking now.

But what if we ask like Mary asked? What if we prayed, “God I don’t know how you are going to help this situation, but I put it in your hands. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”

So let’s ask God. Let’s not keep any thing from Him. Let’s give him our good stuff, and our problems. Let’s ask for God’s help. And let’s do whatever he tells us to do.

Live It:
Ask something of God. Don’t wait. Right now stop, ask God for something spectacular (or small if that is what you need).