The Great Prophet Han Solo once declared, “Never tell me the odds!” There was no asteroid field, no star destroyer, no obstacle that would get in his way.
Similarly, a long time ago in a land far, far away, the Lord God almighty shared the same mentality. Never tell me the odds! Impenetrable fortress city of Jericho? Just give me seven days and some marching shoes. Giant Philistine? Just give me a shepherd boy and five rocks. Fiery furnace? Just make sure you’re hydrated. It gets a little warm in there!
Never tell me the odds! There is nothing he can’t overcome! Friends are in a boat in the middle of the sea? Walk on water. More than 5,000 hungry people and only five loaves and two fish? Better make sure we have baskets for all the leftovers. Even arrest, torture, mock trials and obedience to death — even death on a cross!? Resurrection! Even death is overcome.
We’ve heard of these and many more amazing things that God has done. We believe these amazing things. We celebrate them, sing about them. We trust and proclaim that God can overcome anything, that he can do anything, that nothing is impossible with God.
Except, maybe, one thing. Me.
God’s love and grace and mercy can’t possibly overcome my sins. You don’t know what I’ve done. You don’t know what I do. You don’t know how I think. You can’t see my heart. I’m not good enough. I’m not faithful enough. I don’t believe enough. I don’t deserve it! I’m not worthy of it. That promise surely doesn’t apply to me.
If that’s what you think, or if that’s how you feel, if you think your salvation depends on you or that something you’ve done somehow disqualifies you, the Lord says, “Never tell me the odds!”
“I overcame Moses’ excuses. I overcame Sampson’s vanity and pride. I overcame David’s adultery. I overcame Jonah’s refusal. I overcame Peter’s Peter-ness”
“I overcame sin, death and the Devil on the cross and empty tomb. I overcame your sin in your baptism. And I overcome it again, now, as I once again declare you forgiven. I overcome your past. I know it all. There is nothing hidden from me. I know it. I forgive it.”
“I have overcome, for you.”
As St. Paul declares in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”