Embracing the Impossible in a World of Nonsense

woman doubting god

Every year there is tremendous anticipation leading up to the celebration of Easter in Christian communities worldwide. It is a season that calls my heart to stand, walk, embody, and believe that it is indeed finished, every – single – day. My sins are forgiven. I have been set free from the law of sin and death. And, in the moment, all things seem possible with a God like this.  

That is — until the world presses in again.

And, at some point in my standing, walking, and embodying – – believing begins to feel impossible, and the beautiful truth starts sounding like nonsense. With Easter in the rearview mirror, a question rises to the surface of my heart –“Now what? What do I do with this unbelief?”

I discovered, in reading Luke 24, I am not alone in my struggle to believe. It would appear the eleven remaining disciples had their own issues with nonsense. After the death of Jesus, a group of women took spices to the tomb to prepare His body for burial and found the tomb unsealed and empty. Their confusion turned to fear when two men in gleaming clothes informed them, “He is not here. He has risen.” The women hurried to share the news with the eleven disciples but were met by unbelief. The disciples told the women their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Alice & The Impossible

When I struggle to believe the impossible things of God, I am brought back to a children’s classic by Lewis Carrol, who wrote Alice in Wonderland. The second book in the series is Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. In this tale, Alice journeys through a looking glass in her home into an inverted world on the other side, where she encounters a strange set of characters and other bizarre things. 

Distracted from her exploration by the discovery of an odd book, Alice attempts to read it. At first, she thinks it is written in a foreign language but soon realizes that it is a looking glass book. Looking glass books must be held up to the looking glass to be read. She lifts the book to the mirror and proceeds to read a poem in the book entitled Jabberwocky.

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun.”

The poem goes on to tell, in a most nonsensical way, of
one who, with a sword, killed the jabberwocky.

“One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.”

I love Alice’s response to reading the poem. She says, `It seems very pretty,’ she said when she had finished it, `but it’s RATHER hard to understand!’ (You see, she didn’t like to confess, ever to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.) `Somehow, it seems to fill my head with ideas–only I don’t exactly know what they are! However, SOMEBODY killed SOMETHING: that’s clear, at any rate–‘

Is It All Nonsense?

Jabberwocky means nonsense, and at times, when we hear the story of the Bible, it feels a bit like Jabberwocky to us – but we, like Alice, do at least understand something died. But until we hold the story up to the mirror of God’s reality, we don’t always see it for what it is. 

At one point in Alice’s story, she discusses believing the impossible with the queen. Alice laughingly responds, “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

What if we have been looking at things backward?

In a world where death is inevitable and Easter and resurrection seem to contradict what we know to be true about them, we find ourselves forced, like Alice, to believe the impossible if we are to have faith at all. It is a reverse reality, like peering into a looking glass mirror.

Held up to the mirror of God’s Gospel of love – death doesn’t have the final say because sin and death have met their match in Jesus.

The Church & The Impossible

How do we believe in the impossible things of God and persevere through the “now what?” of this life?

There is another book that, at first appears a bit nonsensical, written to enlighten and encourage people wrestling with embracing God’s truth and staying the course. It is the book of Revelation. A book written to beleaguered churches struggling to persevere against the nonsensical lies of their culture and Satan. At first read, you may think you opened a nonsense poem much like The Jabberwocky. You can hardly make sense of it all, but you are sure, like Alice, someone or something dies.

In this book of the Bible, Jesus pulls back the curtain of heaven to show a God-occupied throne and Himself pictured as a lamb, slain for the sins of the world. The reader is encouraged to trust in the victorious Lamb of God and trust the promises of the one who holds the world and history in His hands. 

Revelation goes on to recount the story of the Bible, the one where the serpent deceived Adam and Eve, turning them away from trusting God after falling for Satan’s nonsense. And the promise of God that one day the seed of the women would crush the serpent’s head, ending his nonsense for eternity. No more sin. No more death. Victory. Life. Resurrection.

Jesus Made Perseverance Possible

Most days need a clear vision of the victory of Jesus over sin and death to revive our weary souls and return to His rest.

These aren’t words without substance. Today, I sat in my car in a grocery store parking lot between one appointment and the next. Circumstances took hold of my heart, calling all of my hope in the good news of Jesus nonsense, and I couldn’t shake it. I reached for my phone and called a friend. I know, seek God first, but at that moment, I called my friend who I knew would lead me back to Him. I confessed my struggle and asked her to pray for me. I needed her to be a mirror and reflect the realities of God to me as my heart tipped upside down. I needed her to echo God’s love to me until my heart was right-side-up again and all of the whispers of nonsense were silenced.

We live in the now but not yet—a time between the first and second coming of Jesus. On the cross, sin and death were dealt a mortal blow, and the Devil defanged. Yet, until the final throwdown of Satan, we fight against his nonsense and the nonsense of our culture as we walk in and celebrate Jesus ‘victory every single day.  

It is finished. Jesus is faithful. And the truth about us? We are His, and His love shines through us as we lean on, live from, and walk out His with-ness and love for us in full view of a dying world. Because of Jesus, believing is possible – especially when it comes to slaying the nonsense (Jabberwocky) in our lives.

When called to believe the impossible, we have only Jesus to lean on. What call has He given you that seems impossible? Turn to Him. He will meet you in it and walk with you through it until what once seemed impossible is not only possible but is all there is and all you need.

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