Have you ever heard the question, “Can God make a rock so large that He can’t pick it up?”

It’s supposed to be a conundrum that Christians cannot answer and is designed to attack the omnipotent aspect of God’s nature. It’s right up there with the challenge, “Answer me ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ – DO YOU STILL BEAT YOUR WIFE?” Only a moron would say “Yes.” (Because only a moron would beat his wife!!!) But saying “No” doesn’t score you any great points either. Because the next question is likely to be, “When did you stop?” The point of the question is that there is no satisfactory answer.

The “can God make a rock so large” question tries to do the same thing. God is omnipotent. That means He is all powerful. There is nothing that He cannot do. So, if God CANNOT make a rock so large that He can’t pick it up, that is assumed to be a limitation of His ability. But, the flip side of the coin is supposed to seal the question. Because if God CAN make a rock so large that He can’t pick it up, then that, too, is a limitation of His ability. Right?

Is ANYTHING truly too hard for God to do? I’ll let Jesus of Nazareth answer the question directly, and then we’ll unpack it a bit.

Jesus said, said, “With God all things are possible.” That’s stating God’s omnipotence in the positive. When Mary and Gabriel were having their little chat about whether God could actually have a teenage girl who’d never laid with a man become pregnant, Gabriel’s response to her question is today’s verse:


So how does one answer the “rock so large” question if all things are possible with God and nothing is impossible with God? Actually, very simply. The question deliberately ignores the element of character. God’s character defines what He will do within the realm of the unlimited scope of what He can do. There is a massive difference between “CAN” and “WILL.”

If it were only a question of capacity, I COULD take every last cent out of my bank account and buy a first-class ticket to a luxury vacation spot. Legally, there is nothing restricting me from doing it. The bank account is in my name. The funds are there. Hey, I’ve not been to Hawaii since my honeymoon! And if I decided that I’d prefer Denmark to Diamond Head, my passport is up to date.

The only thing that prohibits that choice is my character, the very nature of who I am as a person. To do such a thing would be to violate my marriage vows and leave my wife destitute. My love for my wife is unbounded, in terms of any other human it is unsurpassed. So the take-the-cash-and-run question actually has nothing to do with capacity and everything to do with character. It is simply something I WILL NOT do. And, as I said, there is a massive difference between “CAN” and “WILL.”

In the same way, God’s actions are determined by His character. A better definition for omnipotence might be “the ability to anything and everything that is consistent with His nature.” The truth is that we can keep digging deeper and deeper into this question until we get to the place where the answers themselves are irrelevant. Theologians have already spent too much time arguing about how many angels God could fit on the head of a pin.


And that is the main focus we want to keep before us this morning. The prophet Jeremiah had it right when he said, “It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You.”

We serve a God who delights in impossibilities !!! Nothing is too hard for Him.

St. Francis of Assisi said that, as we serve God, we need to start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. I love St. Francis, and also the Franciscan order in our Communion; but I think he got this one wrong. Sort of. Hudson Taylor, a renowned missionary to China, said there are three stages in any great work attempted for God: “Impossible, Difficult, Done.” That’s what I meant with my tongue-in-cheek crack about St. Francis.

While it is true that God desires us to be faithful in the small things, it’s been my experience that the ones who ARE don’t stay involved in small things for long! Before you know it (and WELL before you think you’re ready for it) folks very happy being faithful in small things find themselves face-to-face with the most impossible of situations! The needs are way too great, the stakes are incredibly high and the path forward is murky if it can be seen at all.

It’s the perfect situation for God to step in, do the impossible and get all the glory. You know why? Because ….


Daniel was a captive serving in the captor’s government. A man of impeccable character, he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. The 120 governors working under him hated these qualities, since they limited THEIR ability to fill their own pockets. To put an end to his oversight, they concocted a plan to get Daniel killed.

Three times a day, Daniel would go to his home, kneel next to the upstairs window that faced Jerusalem, and pray. So the governors conned the king into making prayer to anyone but him illegal for thirty days, with the penalty being thrown into a den of lions. The short version of the story is that the king passed the law, unaware of Daniel’s prayer habits. Daniel, fully aware of the King’s edict, decided to obey God; so he continued to go to his upstairs window and pray three times a day. Even if you’re not already familiar with the story, you can guess what comes next.

The king is backed into a corner, and required to toss Daniel into a den of hungry lions because even he cannot change a law he established. So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. As they were throwing him in, the king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

Talk about an impossible prayer !!!

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. He wasn’t sure if Daniel’s God was able to pull this one off. When he came near the den, he yelled out, “Daniel, has your God been able to rescue you from the lions?” He probably wasn’t expecting an answer — but he got one!

Daniel answered, “My God sent His angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” Angels on guard duty and lions going without dinner. We serve a God who delights in impossibilities !!!

The king was thrilled. He gave orders to lift Daniel out and to take the men who had accused Daniel and throw them into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. End of story. (Well, at least the end of the story for the 120 governors. They became lion lunch.)

What impossible situations are you facing today? We serve a God who delights in impossibilities !!! Why not take your biggest impossible situation and ask God to solve it?

God not only delights in situations that are impossible for us, He delights in US !!!!

He loves it when we come to him with childlike faith, and say, “Father, I don’t know what the answer to this situation is; but I know that You do!!!”

You cannot possibly solve it. You already know that. So why not ask someone who can?


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