Making the Impossible Possible

What enables people to feel extreme confidence when faced with impossibly long odds?  Where do they find the inner strength, the reservoir of resilience, to look past moments that would psychologically devastate most people – and continue to focus on the finish line they are certain they will reach?

As I watched my husband race across the finish line of a 50-mile ultramarathon this weekend (three hours faster than expected), I wondered about that.  Clearly, he’d taken a bad fall.  His hand was bandaged, his knee was bleeding.  He’d been running for nine hours.  But, he was the picture of confidence.  He’d known all along he was going to finish strong.

I saw the same sort of confidence in my friend Toni when she battled infertility.  The first time she and her husband, Mike, tried IVF, the doctor canceled the cycle.  There wasn’t anything to retrieve.

The second time, the doctor thought there were two or three eggs to get, “but she looked at the statistics, my age, and the number of eggs we had – and it wasn’t looking good.  She thought it was very unlikely to work.  Doctors go by statistics.  She told me, ‘You may want to consider adoption.’  Before even trying the IVF, she was already expecting a negative outcome!”

Many couples would have been psychologically defeated in that moment.  They would have taken the doctor’s words as truth and given themselves over to grief.  Not Toni.

“I remember saying, ‘I know you can only do what you can do, but there’s another factor involved here.’  I didn’t want to say, ‘God is doing the work’ because I didn’t want to offend her, but that’s what I was thinking.”

Mike and Toni decided to go ahead with the retrieval despite the long odds.  “Statistically, it was not likely to work,” Mike recalls, “but it worked for us.  The one egg we retrieved became our son.”

A year later, Toni and Mike decided to try again.  The doctor said, “Do you know how lucky you were to get pregnant the first time?  And now you’re back?!” Many couples would have been intimidated by the doctor’s question, and by the implication that another success was virtually impossible.  Most couples would have felt self-conscious, as if the doctor’s implied advice – “don’t be greedy” – was both reasonable and appropriate.

But they’d been attending the infertility Bible study and, as Toni recalls, “I had confidence from God.”  How?  Why?  Because in the Bible, God says:

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?”

Toni chose to cling to those words – “I leaned on God a lot” – as she waited for IVF results.   “People said I was so calm.  I said, ‘You know what?  I’ve done everything I can do.  The doctors have done what they can do.  Now, it’s up to God.’”

God honored Toni’s faith with His own faithfulness.  A second miracle son was born, despite the doctor’s predictions and the gloomy statistics.  She says, “Doctors don’t give older women a lot of hope – or they throw a lot of statistics at them.  I tell women, don’t let the statistics tell your story.  Put your faith in God, instead of in those numbers.”

Scripture says “all things are possible.”  It is our faith, combined with God’s faithfulness, that makes those things possible.  We are never limited by statistics, except to the extent that we trust them more than we trust God.

So… are you looking at the numbers, or to the One who can help you reach the finish line?  Your choice makes all the difference.


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Filed under Battles, Hope, Trust

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