For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. Mark 10:27
To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
The wise man knows that the peace of God surpasses all human understanding. The wise man knows that we find our peace in doing His will. God’s plan is perfect. God hears our prayers and answers them in the way that is best for us.
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.”
Many things are impossible for us human beings–like remembering all your computer passwords, understanding the tax code, or making pancakes that have fewer calories than celery.
Above all, the thing that is most impossible for us is to find true, lasting happiness in this world.
There are pleasant and beautiful things to be found here, to be sure. But if we think we can find real happiness by following our own fleeting devices and desires, while we flail around on this spinning rock–no. It is impossible for man to be perfectly happy on earth.
“How hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God… For human beings it is impossible.” The wise man knows that he can lay no claim to the grandeur of Almighty God. Our words cannot describe Him. Our minds cannot conceive Him. Our wills cannot force His hand.
As the Lord said, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25).
There are two ways to interpret Christ’s words about a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
The first interpretation is based on a long-standing tradition about the city wall of ancient Jerusalem. If you have been to the Holy Land, you know that the Old City of Jerusalem is surrounded by a wall. The wall that now stands is not the same one that surrounded the city at the time of Christ. The ancient wall was destroyed by the Romans.
We know that the ancient wall had numerous gates in it. All the gates had heavy, barricaded doors, which were closed at nightfall. Some experts say, however, that there was one tiny, low gate—large enough only for a small child to walk through. This gate had no door and was open all night.
For a man to enter the city through this gate, he would have to bow very low. For a camel to pass through it, the animal would have to get down and crawl on its knobby knees, shuffling itself through the dirt. This gate was called the “eye of the needle.”
Another thing to keep in mind about camels is that, for some reason, they appear to wear a proud, haughty expression on their faces. The Arabs say that camels know a secret which we human beings do not know, and that is why the animals are so smug-looking.
So perhaps our Lord was referring to this picture: The sight of a big, proud-looking camel crawling in the dust to enter the Holy City. It is an evocative image. If this is what he meant for us to imagine, the message is pretty clear:
Hey, Mr. Smug! Hey, Ms. Self-Satisfied: Get down on your knees! If you want to go up to heaven and be truly happy, you have to go down the path of humility and acknowledge your nothingness before the majesty of God.
This may be what our Lord meant when He said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
On the other hand, there are some learned men and women who say that there was no “Eye of the Needle” gate in the wall of Jerusalem. They say that the eye of the needle that the Lord is referring to is the tiny opening involved in sewing.
I don’t do a whole lot of sewing. But I have tried to thread a sewing needle…and it ain’t easy. The chances of getting a full-grown camel through that tiny little hole? Zero. It is impossible.
Or, to put it better: It is impossible for man. It is impossible for man to get himself to heaven. It is impossible for man to overcome his own self-centeredness, his own grasping selfishness, his own pathetic smallness of mind.
But it is not impossible for God. God is so wonderful and powerful that He can even make us into saints and get us to heaven. After all, He made Niagara Falls. He made Angela Basset. He makes the sun rise every morning. Obviously, He can do anything. He can even make us happy and full of pure love—not just for a fleeting moment, but for good.
And if He can accomplish the ultimate, then He can certainly take care of us here below, too. He knows what we need. He provides.
Sometimes we are tempted to doubt this. Sometimes we think He has fallen asleep. So we act as if it is our job to take care of Number One.
But it isn’t. Maybe there was an “Eye of the Needle” gate in the wall of ancient Jerusalem, maybe there wasn’t. Either way, this much is clear. The Lord is saying to us: “Keep the commandments. Let go of everything, and follow me. I will take care of the rest.”