One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies of all time comes in Amazing Grace when William Pitt is conspiring with his friend William Wilberforce to take over as Prime Minister of Great Britain. He will become the youngest Prime Minister in history and it is on this ground that Wilberforce protests – no one of their age has ever taken that kind of power.
Pitt grins mischievously and responds, “We’re too young to know it can’t be done – so we will do it anyway.”
And they do.
There’s this delightful story in 1 Samuel 14 about Jonathan – the son of the already doomed King Saul. His father is licking his wounds inflicted by Samuel’s scolding (and the message God’s already looking for his replacement). The Philistine army opposite them is massive in number, while Saul’s army is only shrinking with soldiers sneaking away trembling in fear.
While Saul seems paralyzed by the situation, his son seems more than ready to take action. He and his armor bearer set off to see what sort of trouble they can cause along enemy lines. Jonathan gives his sidekick (and maybe himself) a little pep talk about how “there’s no rule that says God can only deliver by using a big army. No one can stop God from saving when he sets his mind to it.” (14:6, MSG)
And so the two of them knowingly scramble up right into the arms of a Philistine patrol – crawling up a cliff on all fours, which (and I’m no military expert) doesn’t seem like the best strategic fighting posture. Jonathan knocks the guys down while his sidekick finishes them off by bashing them in the head with rocks – because he hasn’t even got his own sword.
The ruckus they cause gets the attention of the rest of the army that’s been shaking in their sandals on the Israelite side. They finally decide to get moving. Once they charge into enemy territory they find the Philistines confused by Jonathan’s not-so-sneak attack and they’re fighting one another. Soldiers who’d deserted return to their posts when they see God at work in a victory.
Later, the soldiers give Jonathan perhaps the best praise anyone could be given – “He’s been working hand-in-hand with God all day!”
Sometimes, I guess, all that’s needed for the impossible to be done is someone willing to do it. Someone to be too young or too trustful of God’s salvation or too brave or too stupid to ignore the naysayers and the fearful and the ones with too much to lose. Someone to work hand-in-hand with God, step out, and start something that’ll get the attention of the ones on the sidelines.
What are you supposed to be stepping out to do today? Are you supposed to be exploring adoption or ways to help in the modern day abolitionist movement? Is there a ministry at your church you’re supposed to be getting involved with or starting? Is there a work of art you’re meant to create or a conversation you’re supposed to have with someone?
The ones who did the impossible – all they did was step out, worked “hand-in-hand with God”, and did what everyone else said they couldn’t.