Have you ever said, “I can’t” only to find out that you can? Well, you are not alone. In fact, you are in some very good and godly company who said the very same thing . . . only to learn “When Can’t Can!” Let’s recall the experience of Jeremiah:
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.(Jeremiah 1:4-8)
When God first called Jeremiah into his ministry of service, Jeremiah’s response to was, “I CAN’T! I do not know how to speak.” To which God replied, “You CAN” and supplied all the “CAN” Jeremiah needed. Isn’t it amazing to see how God chooses to work out His purposes in this world? He could have decided to use angels, but He did not. Instead God chooses and calls fallible, frail, and fearful men and women into service—people just like you and me—and then He both equips and empowers them to do exactly what He is calling them to do.
Jeremiah’s initial response may have reminded you of Moses, who also balked at God’s call, protesting that “I CAN’T” go back to Egypt and into the court of Pharaoh speaking your words, “Let my people go that they may worship me!” Remember that Moses had struck down the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave, and then Moses fled for his life. He spent forty years tending sheep on the backside of the desert. And when God called him to go back to Egypt as the deliverer of God’s people, Moses said, “I CAN’T.” But God said, “You CAN!”
It’s important to point out here that both Jeremiah and Moses were absolutely right. They could not do what God was calling them to do in their own strength. But God never calls His people without equipping them for the call. Moses and Jeremiah were not going alone, and they were not going in their own strength. They were in the place where “can’t” CAN!
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)
So . . . is God calling you into something today that you believe you cannot do? A new career? Going back to school? A change of address? Forgiving someone who has wronged you? Recommitment in a relationship? If you have been questioning God’s call and fretting that you are up to the task, remember this: You’re right! You are not up for the task, but God is! And the truth the Scriptures teach us is this . . .
WHEN WE CAN’T . . . HE CAN!
Take your “I CAN’T” to God and ask Him to remove your doubt and fear. Freely confess that you have no might, no power, which will enable you to do the work He has called you to. Then get ready to see just what God CAN do, both through and in you, for His glory and your good.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!