I have always loved stories. I think it’s something I learnt from my sister. Her love for reading was the reason I learnt to at such a young age. By the time I was 5, I was reading books far beyond my years. Soon, she began to write her own stories because it was possible she had already read everything appropriate enough for her age (and then some, I’m sure). She’d spend days pouring over notebooks and writing elaborate tales, and I was always impressed with her ability to bring life to words. When I ended up in boarding school, I took up the mantle and began writing my own stories that served as a channel to the outside world – a way to escape what was going on around me and be in a world where I could create my own narratives and outcomes (this was the topic of the college essay that got me into Cornell lol). I realize now that while I don’t write fiction as much, I have never quite stopped imagining an alternate reality for myself.
I think it’s why I love the story of Alice in Wonderland. It really is a tale of a young girl, who like me, is trying to escape who she is told she needs to be while figuring out who she is and what she is yet to become. In her journey, she is forced to question all the thing she has thought to be true about herself and about life, and the boundaries of the impossible.
As I think about it, how similar is our Christian walk to Alice’s?
I feel like a huge learning curve for me in my faith IS figuring out who I am – who I was created to be – and continuously testing the boundaries of my faith in God and His ability to do what I deem impossible. And just like Alice, fear of the unknown and unfamiliar – and often of looking crazy – has the ability to set boundaries on my self-discovery and on what is possible in my own life.
And I am continuously convicted in my tango with impossible. Just last week I was reminded in my study of Mark 5-6 that while God is able to work some things out for us simply because of His goodness, what is impossible requires faith in His ability to do the impossible. When the woman with the issue of the blood touched the hem of Jesus’ robe, her healing came not from simply making contact (because a lot of people in the crowd were pushing up against Jesus, but didn’t receive healing). Her healing came from her faith that the simple act of making contact would heal her. It was her faith in his ability to do the impossible that made her well (Mark 5:21- 34).
As the chapter continues, Jesus ends up at the home of Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue whose daughter had just died. Jesus proclaims in faith that she is only asleep, and the mourners laugh and jeer at him. He quickly sends them all away and heads into the room where the girl lies dead with only his three closest disciples, and at a simple request, the girl gets up. Jesus sent the people away because great miracles – things that are normally impossible – cannot happen where there is disbelief. Surrounded by people who had seen him perform the impossible and had faith in his ability to raise someone from the dead, he was able to do just that.
When Chapter 6 begins, Jesus returns to his hometown to teach and do the impossible for his kinfolk, but scripture tells us that because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do many miracles among them except heal a few sick people.
The theme here is clear: to see the impossible, we have to get into the habit of believing it to BE possible.
The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it to be possible.
In Lewis Carroll’s novel, Alice says in an encounter with the Queen, ‘There’s no use trying. One can’t believe impossible things.”, to which the Queen replies:
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Not just thinking. Not just mulling over. But actually BELIEVING six impossible things. Imagine if we applied this principle to our daily walk with Christ?
Now, believing six impossible things before breakfast might seem like a stretch for those of us still trying to delve deeper into the well of faith, but what if just this week we committed to not just praying about, but BELIEVING for six things that seem impossible to us every morning before breakfast? It could be believing for 6 things every day this week, or one thing each day of the rest of the week. Whatever works for you. But it’s my guess that, looking at the track record of our God, we will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
If we go ahead to get into the habit of believing for the seemingly impossible in faith, then like Alice, we will begin to see even our wildest dreams become reality.