Is There Anything Too Hard For 'The Lord?'|
by Canon Ronald Branche
Sermon Preached at St. George's Episcopal/Anglican Church
Road Town, Tortola
The old people used to say, 'What miss you went pass you!'
One of the things that Abraham had longed for was that his wife Sarah would bear him a son- He had prayed about this- but now at age 100 and his wife just 10 years younger he had given up on this. It was while entertaining three strangers- (God's messengers)- that it was revealed that Sarah would bear a son, Abraham laughed in disbelief- and Sarah sniggered behind the curtain at the suggestion that she would bear a son at age ninety.- Prompting the voice to ask 'Is there anything too hard for the Lord?' Years later Moses would be asked the same question, when he too questioned God on the ability to provide meat to satisfy 600 000 people for a month put another way Moses was asked 'Is the Lord's arm too short?' Centuries later, the prophet Jeremiah bought land at a time when Judah was under siege, and then the word of assurance came to him from the Lord. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? My friends, whatever contrary winds are blowing into your life this day, whether it be terminal sickness, financial stress, difficult marriage (physically or mentally challenged), sudden grief, whatever, the Lord's voice still questions- 'Is there anything too hard for the Lord?'
The people of Jerusalem under King Jehosophat, woke up one morning to find that the mighty armies of the Ammonites, Moabites and Edonites were advancing to push them into the sea. What was King Jehosophat's reaction- He called the nation to prayer, and during this national day of prayer, the Spirit of the Lord rested on Jahaziel- and assured him in these words 'The battle is not yours, it is the Lord's.' Jahaziel communicated this to Jehesophat- and the people were instructed that they were to prepare for battle; they were to pick up their positions early next morning, and be battle ready. Early next morning, before taking their positions they prayed and were led to their positions by a chorus band. Having planned their strategy- from where they stood in the ascent to Aziz, they could look down and see hundreds of soldiers dead on the ground, there had been conflict among supposedly united forces, and they turned on each other with disastrous results. Just as Jahaziel had indicated- the battle was not theirs, it was the Lord's.
My friends sometimes the Lord assures us that the battle is not ours but he expects us to pick up our positions, we may never draw a sword, our victory is assured through the Lord's intervention and we take up the question on our lips. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
When Jesus was on his itinerant ministry he was remarking how difficult it was for the rich to get into heaven and when he was asked “Who then can be saved?'. His response was “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.' Last week we had testimony of this in our Gospel story, when Jarius, the Jewish leader, invited Jesus to visit his home, because his twelve year old daughter was dead. When Jesus arrived, the flute players and the professional mourners were there and Jesus remarked, 'She is not dead- she only sleepeth.' Like Abraham and Sarah- they laughed at him. What did Jesus do? - He put them all out, went in with his disciples, and brought the child back to life. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
I say to you that these miracles did not end there- they continue into acts of the Apostles- So that Paul can write to the people at Corinth and say, 'What no eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.' Miracles did not end after the disciples were martyred- as I stand here people are being healed, people who have been told by doctors, it's only a matter of time, they have defied all prognosis- and left the medical world pleasantly befuddled. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?.
In 1991, one year before the Olympics- Gail Devers who was diagnosed with Gray's Disease, a disease that attacks the limbs, this disease threatened to put an end to Gail's dream of representing the U.S.A. at the Olympics. The doctors were contemplating amputating one of her legs, so severe was the disease. Gail Devers trusted in the Lord, she believed that God would not only see her through this sickness, but she visualised herself winning the 100 metres at the Olympics. Her dream came through in 1992 when, with tears streaming down her eyes, she raised her bouquet, and bent her neck to receive her Gold Medal. She could ask, 'Is there anything too hard for the Lord?'
Can we forget the hundreds who died in the Apartheid of South Africa, the mass deaths, in those troubled times in the eighties, when every Sunday we were in intercessory prayer around the world for the people of South Africa? At that time Nelson Mandela was languishing in jail for 27 years, with no relief or release in sight,- his health failing and more and more blacks dying- forcing one singer to inquire 'How many more must die?'. Can we account for the about face- that led to the release of Nelson Mandela and his been elevated to lead the Parliament in that land. What happened there? Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
Trust in the Lord. The Lord is my strength and salvation, whom shall I fear? Trust in the Lord. Commit thy ways to Him, and like Abraham, like Jeremiah, like Gail Devers, like Nelson Mandela, you too can enjoy reversals in your life. Banish Fear. It is said that Fear came knocking on a door one night- Faith answered- and Fear has never been seen since. Part of our own problem is that we do not want to be obedient to the ways of the Lord, we want to do our own thing, to do it as it pleases us- God is brought in as a last resort- Like the woman with the haemorrhage complaint- Luke tells us she had spent all she had trying to have her complaint corrected- then she turned to Jesus- but she turned to Jesus in faith believing that if she could just touch his garment, she could be healed. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
Is there anything too hard for the Lord? For three days, nine miners were trapped 250 feet below the ground, amid torrents of water that threatened to engulf them. The first piece of equipment broke and had to be replaced; the families and friends were in prayer. People around the world are in prayer. The Miners who are arranging the rescue knew that their lowering device had to be precise, any variations could spell disaster for their colleagues. Early Sunday morning, anxious hearts were relieved, as the nine men were rescued, having already written their farewells, having already planned to die together. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
Sometimes in this Life God has called us to work for him through our afflictions. I remember attending a conference for the visually impaired, the feature address was given by a lady who did not allow the loss of her sight to prevent her from moving forward in life. She attended University, had her first degree and was looking forward to working on her second degree. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?