One thing is true about the stories we enjoy. It does not matter if it’s a movie, a novel, or a television show. Whether fact or fiction, we all love this thing that pulls us to the edge of our seats—
Whether you’re talking about Frodo in The Lord of the Rings or the father and son in the The Road, we love stories where the heroes face an insurmountable situation. We look at the possibilities of what could happen and hope for the best, even when what we hope for is the least likely to happen. Most of us love to watch this kind of story to play out in the glow of flickering screens.
But let’s be honest, we don’t want to face impossible odds ourselves. We want everything to go smoothly. We want a wide margin of success available at all times and in every circumstance. The only time we want the hero to face impossible odds is in a story we are not participating in.
In Genesis 24, Abraham sends out his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. The timing of this is important. Abraham’s wife, Sarah has died. Abraham is not just looking for a wife for his son; he is believing the promises made to him by God.
But when Abraham sends out his servant to find a wife for Isaac, the servant is worried about his success. The odds seem to be impossible. You can imagine how difficult this would sound: he has to find a wife from among Abraham’s family, Abraham has to approve, her family must approve, and he has to worry about Isaac and the wife’s approval too.
But Abraham, who has watched God do the impossible to show Himself faithful to His promises, assures him that the promise-keeping God will go with him. So the servant goes, asks God to do what would be impossible apart from Him, and finds Rebekah. And, against all odds, everyone thinks this marriage is a great idea.
It is tempting to read this story and assume the point is that whatever impossible odds you are facing, God can meet them. But that’s not really it.
I want to direct your attention to another love story that, I believe, this love story points to. Both have seemingly impossible odds of success. This other love story also involves a man through whom God will keep His promises. He is man in search of a bride, and winning this bride looks impossible. It is the story of Christ and His church. This is the impossible story of Christ’s redemptive love for those who were His enemies. This is the story of the Holy One who goes after sinners (Romans 5:8).
We’ve all felt the impossibility of this. We know the dark corners of our hearts. We have wondered at the impossibility of God loving us because we know ourselves too well to believe what seems too good to be true.
But it is true. It is more true than anything else we think we know. And like Abraham’s servant, the only reasonable response is to praise the God who makes all things possible.
Written by Matthew B. Redmond