Edgar Guest once wrote, “Somebody said that it couldn’t be done. But, he with a chuckle replied that ‘maybe it couldn’t,’ but he would be one who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.”
His poem reminds me of a story I once heard about impossibilities. The ancient Greeks studied lung capacity and bone structure and concluded it was impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes.
For centuries, no one broke that barrier until a British runner named Roger Bannister did it in 3 minutes 59:4 seconds in Oxford, England on May 4, 1954. His record was broken a month later by John Landy, an Australian. The first American to run the mile in less than four minutes was Don Bowden in 1957. The first American high school athlete to run a mile under four minutes was Jim Ryun, who ran it in 3 minutes 51:1 seconds on July 17, 1966 in Bakersfield, Calif. The next summer Ryun broke his own record.
Since 1954, dozens of other athletes have run the mile in less than four minutes. The most recent record I could find is held by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco who lowered the mile run to 3 minutes 43.13 seconds in 1999.
When it comes to impossibilities, we all may face them in one way or another. Sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control. An impossibility can also be an obstacle between us and our goal. In 2012, when Spencer West announced he was going to climb the 19,300 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro, people told him it was dangerous and impossible – besides that he had no legs. He not only reached the summit by climbing with his hands, but also raised $500,000 for charity doing it.
“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done,” writes Hannah More. Impossibilities may be of our own making or imposed by someone else. Either way, we often find ourselves with the limited ability or resources to change the circumstances or obstacles. In other words, it seems there’s nothing you and I can do about it.
The Christian facing an impossibility can go to Someone who can do the impossible. According to the Bible, impossibilities are possible with God. When the angel announced to a virgin named Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, her reaction was, “How can this be?” The angel answered, “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Later, a rich, young ruler asked Jesus how to be saved. After their conversation, Jesus said to those around him, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Jesus told the father of a boy in need of healing, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
I believe nothing is impossible with God. If that were not true, He wouldn’t be God. He specializes in things thought impossible and He can do what no other power can do. When impossibilities come, don’t say, “It can’t be done.” A quote I once read says it best, “It’s not impossible. It’s Himpossible.”
Jan White is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who lives in Andalusia. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.