Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Think I Can't

“I think I can, I think I can…” is the oft’ repeated refrain of The Little Engine that Could, a favorite children’s story. I found myself repeating that phrase over and over a few weeks ago on the first snowy day of the year as I tried to drive my van up the big hill between school and home. It took more than a positive attitude to make the hill, however. It took a full twelve minutes of bald tires spinning repeatedly against packed snow, making only inches of progress at a time. Upon reaching the top I drove directly to the shop to get new tires.

Today, as I was reading Exodus, another repeated refrain grabbed my attention. “I am the Lord.” This is the answer God gives over and over again, as Moses struggles with his own incompetency and the “what ifs” of his assignment to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt in order to worship God.

With the narrative removed, the conversation between Moses and Pharaoh goes something like this:

“I am the Lord. Go speak to Pharaoh, saying ‘let my people go.’”

“But I am a poor speaker. How will Pharaoh hear me?”

“I am the Lord.”

“But Pharaoh won’t listen to me.”

“I am the Lord.”

“But Pharaoh will bring more harm to my people.”

“I am the Lord. Go speak to Pharaoh, saying ‘let my people go.’”

“But I am a poor speaker.”

“I am the Lord.”

Wouldn’t you think Moses would finally get it? It’s not about him and his shortcomings. It’s about God.

One biblical expositor, Gill, expands on what God packed into that oft’ repeated phrase: “Jehovah, the self-existent Being, the Being of beings, the everlasting I am, the unchangeable Jehovah, true, firm, and constant to his promises, ever to be believed, and always to be depended on.”

In other words, “I am the Lord,” is all Moses needed to know -all he needed to complete each assignment.

Likewise, “I am the Lord” is all I need to know. So often I worry that I am not the right person for the tasks God has called me to do. I don't feel adequate, and when I try to accomplish things in my own strength, they fail. Wouldn't you think, after all my "tire spinning" I would finally get it?

Instead of “I think I can,” I may as well declare right from the start, “I think I can’t" ...while remembering that God can.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT)


  1. Great reminder, Sharlyn - through Him, we CAN!

  2. Thanks Sheri!
    Love it...goes along with Gal 2:20...living by faith alone.

  3. Great post, Sharlyn! It's a wonderful reminder that although we can't alone, God always can, and that is enough.


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