Not Just Difficult, Its Impossible

I recently heard a Francis Schaeffer quote in which he said, in reference to his ministry at L’Abri, “what we are trying to do here is not just difficult – its impossible.” I have been so encouraged by this thought over the past several weeks. Recognizing that God calls us to what is impossible, rather than what is merely difficult, forces us to abandon self-reliance and live with total dependence on Him. Then this morning I was reading through God’s call of Moses in Exodus 3-4. When Moses says to God, “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?,” God’s response is not, “you can do this – pull yourself together, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.” He doesn’t deny Moses’ feeling of inadequacy. But he does say, “I will be with you.”

Many times over the past several weeks I have been totally overwhelmed by all that I have to do this year, between church, school, and other responsibilities. This morning God helped me to be grateful for this, because He is using this busy season of my life to break me out of self-sufficiency and to lead me into greater freedom and greater dependence upon Him. I almost never turn to God in whole-heartedness and authenticity until I reach the end of myself, and when I reach the end of myself and turn to Him, He is always there and always faithful. Thank you, Lord, for calling us to do what we are inadequate to do by ourselves.


  1. ErinOrtlund

    That’s helpful, Gavin. I’ll remember that Schaeffer quote. I’ve been wanting to read more of his books–do you recommend any to start with?

  2. Gavin Ortlund

    Thanks Erin. Dad sent me a copy of “No Little People” which has lots of his sermons. I really enjoyed it! It might be a good place to begin.

  3. Doug and Lori

    Amen to that!

  4. Dane Ortlund

    YES. Needed the reminder. Thanks dude.

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