On Possibility

On Possibility

by Hannah Smith, City Youth Volunteer

What do you think of when you think of “possibility?” 

I’ll give you a minute. And then I’ll share where my mind goes.

Conceptually speaking, I picture the moment of charged energy fueling the beauty of what’s possible. That sound of an orchestra tuning their instruments. Five-year-olds wearing pristine new backpacks on the first day of kindergarten. The first flowers poking out of the winter ground. Clean beginnings.

But it’s different when I’m in the day-to-day. A mistake I make at work leads to an internal battle with despair, even when it’s perfectly possible that my mistake won’t impede the project (spoiler: it didn’t!). I commit to spending time with a friend, and when the time comes, I almost cancel and miss out on the quiet possibilities of friendship, all because I don’t feel like driving. As I write admission essays for graduate school, I navigate a minefield of “what ifs”: what if I miss the chance to say something important? What if I don’t say the right words to catch their eye? And then I have to fight against the notion that I can control the possibilities and engineer my path.

Mary finds herself in a situation infused with possibility. I’m imagining her feeling the first butterfly flutters of a baby kick in her womb, mind racing. She’s taking a deep breath and reminding herself what the angel had said: “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Our minds, bodies, and emotions hold incredible God-gifted power, and at the same time, they’re finite. There’s no way we can wrap ourselves around the possibilities God brings into being—nor are we called to! Throughout the Bible, even when God directly calls people to do something or go somewhere, he doesn’t give them every bit of information. He calls Abraham “to a land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). He sends Moses to the king of Egypt “so that you can lead my people out of his country” (Exodus 3:10), a singularly weighty dispatch, continuing the call that began with Abraham. Neither of these men could’ve fathomed all that would follow such a call. God’s promise to Moses is his promise to us, too: “I will be with you.”

Living in tension with possibility brings the invitation to remain present and attentive, to live into the reality that God holds us in the palm of his hand as he makes the world new. Steadying ourselves with God’s promises, we show up and encounter the beauty of possibility beyond our wildest dreams.

Our four-week Advent blog series is designed to correspond with our Advent Devotional, “A New Vision,” which you can pick up at a future service or download the PDF by clicking here.

Hannah Smith
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