Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Can’t but God Can!

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. Isaiah 41:29-31 NLT

I attended a women’s ministry conference this past weekend. Last year I completed their writing track and this year I would focus on the speaking track. Though I present regularly in the classroom and don’t mind talking in front of people (or beside them or behind them for that matter… I just love to talk!), I never have had any formal speaking training. I’d spent the previous two weeks glued to my computer and then my timer as I rehearsed the two speeches, a 3 minute testimony and then 5 minute teaching of scripture.

But as I drove down to Charlotte and prepared to share, my anxiety grew. All had gone well during the two weeks of preparation. But the last few days, as I neared the actual event, I started to struggle. My grief over Peter flared intensely and I struggled to get through my testimony. It’s not that I feared emotion or wanted to appear cold, but when the surface cracked just a little, the emotion became a geyser that I couldn’t easily control. 3 minutes is not a long time.

I also left home at 4:45am to get through Washington DC before rush hour and arrive in time for my first session at 1:15. But my speech would not be until after 8pm that night. So I headed for the conference physically tired, emotionally overwhelmed, and feeling very weak.

But as I drove, Chris Tomlin’s song “Let Faith Arise” came over the speakers. As I listened to the words, I repeated them in prayer. “Let faith arise.” Then I thought about my definition for faith – believing God is who he says he is and can do/will do what he says he will do. Remembering the verse above, a favorite passage from Peter’s homecoming, I knew God promised strength. Then putting it all together, I thought:

I might be weak, but God’s not. I might not be able to handle things this weekend, but God in me can.

So that became my mantra to myself all weekend long. I can’t but God can.

I wish everything got rosy right after that thought. But I stayed tired. I stayed insecure. I stayed emotional. But I did not surrender. I did not quit. I kept leaning, and God kept holding me up. Then on Saturday when God’s promises washed over me in my quiet time, the “new strength” arrived. It exploded within me when God used a session to cast the vision for my next year of writing. Regardless of only eight hours of sleep across the two nights, I not only survived the weekend, I thrived.

In my three minute testimony, I made this claim. “The intimacy and joy of God’s presence makes the pain of this life pale in comparison.” This weekend that proved true. Hearing God, sensing God, made everything else, good or bad, insignificant.

Are you having an “I can’t” day? I’d encourage you to run to God. Reflect on who he is, his promises, his character, his power and strength. Then repeat after me….”I can’t but God can!”

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