Have you ever looked at a task and thought, Wow, that’s impossible! Then you stop, or you start to find other ways to get the job done and you realize that it’s not impossible, it’s just difficult, and then you keep working and the difficult isn’t as bad as you thought. Now, it’s still hard but, before you know it, the job that was out of range—too hard to do, couldn’t figure it out—is now completed. Finished. Done.
Recently I was having some quiet time; I was reading in a devotional book I really love about prayer and came across the quote from the missionary, Hudson Taylor, and he said, “First it’s impossible, then difficult, then done.”
That thought just stuck with me, because it is so true and has shown itself to be true in my own life. As I reflect back, I can tell you about 100 times that I thought a job, a project; an issue was simply impossible, but then circumstances changed and the impossible became possible. Still it was difficult, no doubt, but then it was done.
As we head into the holiday season I want to provide a bit of hope in the idea that no matter what you’re going through right now (that seems impossible), if you’ll just work thought it—even the difficult parts that don’t make sense, the hard parts that you can’t seem to find answers to, the lonely hours that try your soul—if you will just push through the difficulties, you will find yourself on the other side, looking back and marveling on how you got to the point of completion. When you flash back and remember that at one point you thought it was hopeless, you’ll be grateful that you pushed through and today are hopeful.
I’m not sure of the issues that are weighing heavy on your soul today, whether it’s your marriage, which for some is hanging by a thread due to one of you having an affair and the other finding out, or in your anger you’ve crossed the line from frustration to abuse and now there is no forgiveness ever coming for what you’ve done, and the cold and silent treatment is creating a hollow empty lonely life. For some it is simply a lack of love or desire—the flame is gone and you’re not sure if it’s ever coming back or if you even want it to—and now you wonder if faking another happy holiday is even worth it for you, for them, for the kids, the in-laws and out-laws. It seems impossible.
Well, that may be how it seems to you right now, but in time (if you want) you’ll find a way. You will make hard decisions to do the right thing: To ask forgiveness and a chance to start over, to try again, to rekindle what you know and who you know is the right one for you and your family. Oh, it will go slowly, on shaky ground—lost trust does that—you can’t expect more, but trust regained will prove that it is not impossible; it’s just difficult, and over time it will be done, and you’ll sigh with relief when you remember what you might have lost if you hadn’t done the impossible and the difficult, which have led you to this day.
Or you’re worried about your kids who have not turned out as you had hoped for, prayed for, cried for and you’re angry and embarrassed and simply at a loss of what to do. Your kids started out so great, and now you hardly recognize them. They’re not the sweet kids you remember, the ones you poured your life into so they would be productive, impressive, well-mannered young adults. Now your kids are disrespectful, angry and aloof; still expecting you to feed them, house them and take care of them, as they treat you with knowing distain, and it happened so slowly but sort of suddenly and now really the only thing you can do is…believe that you trained up those kids in the way they should go, and pray that they will find their way back to the path and not depart from it. Ah, friend, I know right now it seems impossible.
Let me encourage you to tread lightly when it comes to your kids, but don’t give up on them. The world is a hard place for young people nowadays. Many of the kids I work with are so talented and smart but they look around and see what “everyone else has” and they want it, they want to fit in, they want others to respect them and they want to be adults in their kid’s body. They find solace in drinking and relief in drugs. Escaping the duties of responsibility, for many, is their goal. Days turn into months and months into years, and one day they will grow up and realize (although they will never tell you) that they wasted so much time in their drama in their heads with their friends, and now they want to settle down and get on about the business of school and life and love. When they were young, life seemed impossible, then they realized that it was just difficult and now they can breathe a sigh of relief that they are done with those days; they are ready to fly right and do good, forgetting that they put all those grey hairs on your head.
Some listening today are worried about their job and finances. Once again there is more month than money, and there is pressure to give more and more when you’ve got less and less. You’re working more hours, but you are still struggling to stay financially afloat. You’re working harder than your physical body can handle, but you don’t dare say a word because you need the paycheck to take care of your family. For some, the pressure of not having a job right now and spending hours looking for work to meet your needs just to get by, and the frustration of how did you ever get to this place to begin with (this is not how it is supposed to be) with your skill set, your degree, your ability to work hard and be a great employee, how is it that there is not a place for you? Ah, friend, I hear it every day, and it’s heartbreaking and seemingly impossible to catch a break. No doubt it is difficult…maybe impossible.
It’s hard to enjoy peace on earth goodwill to men when you have to sell your things at the pawnshop or on Craig’s list to buy for the kids, the family, the friends and everyone else at the office.
The financial piece is a little harder—impossible you may say—certainly difficult, and unless you get your financial house in order it will not be done anytime soon. You know you need to save more and spend less, but you just need to commit to doing it—to be disciplined enough to protect your future. But remember this simple fact; you are in control, so you need to take control for your future. Even if it means night school or a little more training for a short time to put you in a better financial position, because it is not impossible, it may be difficult, but you can get it done. You’re smart, you’re able and, with a hopeful attitude, you’re unstoppable.
So let me back up and remind you what Hudson Taylor said, that “First it seems impossible, then it will be difficult, but then it will be done.”
Please hear me when I tell you that, at some point, all your struggles and tears and pain and hurt and anger and frustration will be done. Finished. Over. And you will come through on the other side, victorious.
All the thrashing around to work and re-work problems—to find the answers—will pay off after the anger and tears subside, and then you will see clearly a path forward; that is, only if you don’t give up, and you keep thinking, working, praying for the answers to come. Impossible at first, difficult to say the least, but then (out of the clear blue) you will be done. Finished. Complete.
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that it’s not going to be easy but it will be done, and let me remind you that how you deal with the ending will tell you and everyone around you a lot about your character in how you handle the aftermath.
I’m well known for saying when it come to politics that “how you lose determines if you’ll ever come back…” Not saying that you’re headed for a loss, mind you, but I do want to simply remind you that your actions throughout the process of dealing with the impossible, then the difficult, will be a determining factor in your final outcome.
So, friends, be steady in the storms of life, be hopeful as you seek your future, be kind as you deal with others and be grateful for the lessons learned that you can teach others when you tell them that… at first it seems impossible, then it will be difficult, but then it will be done.