Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
If you believe in God, you will not be surprised to hear me say that our God is a God of surprises. You will never cease to be amazed at how he works in people’s lives, for he is an awesome God who is more powerful than we realise.
So much so, that did you realise God can make big things small, and small things big? Quite an unusual concept, but something which is really amazing. Many Christians have discovered this wonderful truth—that he can make the mountains in our lives disappear or turn them into little bumps, for he can do miracles if we let him. You see, this is one way that God acts. He turns seeming defeat into amazing victory; he makes the impossible possible and he does make big things small.
The Biblical record states time after time that God did this. He turned the Great Red Sea into a dry path so that the people of Israel could walk across safely and then he let the waters return to destroy the pursuing unconquerable Egyptian army. Years later he made it rain bread and meat so the people would not go hungry. God stopped the Sun so the army of Israel could win a decisive military victory. He pulled down huge city walls that were thought to be impregnable. When hordes of evil armies threatened his people, God destroyed them.
His Son healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, and levelled the biggest mountain when through his death and resurrection, He made a way for the sins of all mankind to be forgiven. God does make big things small. As Jesus said in Luke 18:27, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Our problem is believing it to be true for ourselves. Often we doubt that it can really happen.
It Happened in a Brooklyn Subway
This is a true story going back to the end of World War II in 1947 when a Hungarian man named Marcel Sternberger was in a subway train in Brooklyn and sat next to a man in his mid 30s. He noticed he was reading a Hungarian-language newspaper—he could also speak the language so they began to chat. The younger man’s name was Bela Paskin and had been a law student until the war began in 1940. He had been part of a German battalion that went to the Ukraine. Captured by the Russians, he had to bury the German dead. After the war ended he walked hundreds of miles going home in eastern Hungary.
When he reached the apartment once occupied by his father, mother, brothers, and sisters, he found strangers living there. He ran upstairs to the apartment that he and his wife had once shared. It too was occupied by strangers.
And, none of them had ever heard of his family. As he was leaving, a boy ran after him, calling Uncle Paskin! The child was the son of some of his old neighbours. Paskin followed him home and talked to the boy’s parents and learned that his entire family was dead—that the Nazis had taken them, including his wife, to Auschwitz. Paskin knew that Auschwitz was the most horrible of all the Nazi death camps and so he immediately gave up hope. Then consumed with grief he set out walking again—crossing border after border until he was finally able to emigrate to the United States in 1947. That was only three months before his encounter with Marcel Sternberger on the Brooklyn subway.
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All the time that Paskin was sharing this story, Marcel was thinking that somehow it seemed familiar. He had recently met a young woman who had been from Debrecen. She had been sent to Auschwitz but from there she had been transferred to work in a German munitions factory. Her relatives had all been killed in the gas chambers. Later she was liberated by the Americans and was brought to the US in the first boatload of displaced persons in 1946. Her story had moved him so that Marcel Sternberger had written down her name and phone number, intending to invite her to meet his family and help relieve her terrible emptiness and loneliness.
He asked Paskin, “Was your wife’s name Marya?” He replied, “Yes, how did you know?” They immediately got off the train and Marcel dialled Marya’s number. He asked Marya if she had lived at a certain address in Debrecen and confirmed that she was indeed Paskin’s long-lost wife. Sternberger put Paskin on the phone and watched as the expression on his face showed that a huge ‘mountain’ had been moved in his life—as he spoke to the wife that for years he had believed dead. He put Paskin in a taxi and a few minutes later he was reunited with Marya. Both husband and wife believe it was God who heard their prayers and acted to miraculously bring them back together. And God often works this way—he moves mountains, he makes big things small.
Now—what about your life? What mountains do you face? What are those things that seem to be impossible for you? Is it sickness? Is it financial troubles or insurmountable problems at work? Is it a grief that you just can’t bear any longer? Is your marriage or family falling apart? Do you struggle with anxiety or depression so great you don’t think you can make it through another day?
Nothing is impossible with God. He can make a way when there is no way. God can take the big things in your life and make them small. As he told Jeremiah, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
(To be continued in God Works in Mysterious Ways – Part 2)
Redland Baptist Church