The Glory of the Impossible

Isabella Lilias Trotter (1853-1928) was anartistand amissionaryfor over 38 years to theMuslims of Algeria. She wrote and illustrated dozens of books and tracts.

One of those, The Glory of the Impossible, has been an inspiration for Barbrara Yandell and Hope for the Nations. Trotter begins by describing the soldanella flower:

"Far up in the Alpine hollows, year by year, God works one of His marvels. The snow- patches lie there, frozen into ice at their edges from the strife of sunny days and frosty nights; and through that ice- crust come, unscathed, flowers in full bloom.

Back in the days of the bygone summer, the little soldanella plant spread its leaves wide and flat on the ground to drink in the sun-rays, and it kept them stored in the root through the winter. Then spring came, and stirred its pulses even below the snow-shroud. And as it sprouted, warmth was given out in such a strange measure that it thawed a little dome in the snow above its head. Higher and higher it grew, and always above it rose the bell of air, till the flowerbud formed safely within it; and at last the icy covering of the air-bell gave way, and let the blossom through into the sunshine, the crystaline texture of its mauve petals sparkling like the snow itself,as if it bore the traces of the flight through which it had come.

And the fragile thing rings an echo in our hearts that none of the jewel-like flowers nestled in the warm turf on the slopes below, could waken. We love to see the impossible accomplished. And so does God."

She goes on in that essay to say that that there are two great tracts of humanity that lie, like the soldanella plant, under an "impenetrable, immovable" weight that weigh down, like a cold tombstone, upon them: the "caste races of India" and "yet more unbroken in its resistance, the power of Islam throughout the world." It seems impossible that they could break free into the brightness of the Lord's light. And yet, Trotter argues, "Things that are impossible with men are possible with God."

"Lifting the veil from the time to come, we have the vision, "I beheld, and lo a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.  Have the Mohammedans and the Caste races a fair representation there yet? If not, those who shall stand before the throne are still to be found. They will be found by those to whom God gives 'a passion for the impossible.'"

Like Lillias Trotter, Samuel Zwemer and so many others, Barbara and Hope for the Nations have a passion for the seemingly impossible vision of seeing those, enduring under the cold weight of Islam and other systems that set themselves up against the wisdom and glory of Christ, break free like the soldanella flower into the bright morning of a new heaven and a new earth.  This is why the little soldanella flower is not only our logo, but our inspiration.