Written on: May 1, 2024

Article by: Tim Johnson

In my last month of high school, I signed up for a high-jumping contest. As the bar kept being raised, contestants were eliminated when they failed to jump over it. Finally, only two of us were left: one tall girl and me. “Can I do it?” The question bit my enthusiasm, but I decided to give it my best. Somehow, I succeeded. She did too. But in the next round I failed, and she won. Surprisingly, her victory didn’t bother me. I was thrilled to do more than I thought I could. Later, she congratulated me. I had the feeling I had forced her to jump higher than usual.

Squeezed by life’s challenges, we’re forced to ask the question, “Can I do it?” Past failures sometimes teach us to shy away from important work. The sloppiness of others makes us beware. Life’s struggles disappoint us. We doubt ourselves. Will the future be too hard to handle?

It’s not a sign of weakness to wonder if we can do something challenging. We are limited human beings who often fail, or find that we can’t handle certain things very well. It’s normal to wonder if we are capable. But don’t let your doubts stop you from trying.

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How many things in life challenge us to the bone? Some things are just too hard, yet, we know they can be done. The successes of others encourages us, but sometimes there is no one else. It’s us or nobody. Never forget this: God has a habit of standing with the weak and the scared, helping them to succeed.

Moses wondered if he could adequately lead the Israelites, offering God plenty of excuses why he couldn’t (Exodus 3-4). He thought that he couldn’t speak publicly, yet spoke to the most powerful head of state of his time, and succeeded. Moses led Israel until his death over 40 years later.

Cowering in a winepress, Gideon was called to lead Israel against invading armies. God’s angel called him a “valiant warrior!” while he sputtered about his inexperience and lack of clout. (Judges 6). God looked at what Gideon would become, not at what he was. He stood with a man whose faith was weak in order to lead others like himself to ultimate success.

Jeremiah thought he was too young to become a prophet (Jer.1:6). God said this was nonsense and promised to protect him. He looked too young and inexperienced, a nobody. How could he face the old guard of Judah? Have you ever worried whether or not people would listen to you? To Jeremiah, that thought soon became nothing. He went on to preach for over 40 years. His bravery and persistence were so legendary, that many of the Jews thought that Jesus was Jeremiah all over again! (Matt.16:14). Let God’s words to Jeremiah always encourage our doubting souls, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord” (Jer.1:8). This lonely prophet who went through horrors and converted few has become an inspiration to every preacher.

Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, and a host of others asked themselves, “Can I do it?” God stood with them all. Each of them took a deep breath and went ahead. All of them succeeded.

Never let self-doubt keep you from obeying God.

The greatest work of all time was handed to the twelve apostles. Jesus said: “Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt.28:18-20).

How could a group of twelve men accomplish such a world-encompassing charge? They trusted a new fact, and a new promise. The new fact was that Jesus had been given “all authority in heaven and on earth.” The new promise was that Jesus would “be with [them] always, even to the end of the age.” His authority to rule the nations would open doors and help them speak with courage. His promise to be with them gave them confidence they were not alone.

How are we going to spread the gospel right here in our own communities, let alone the whole burgeoning world of 8 billion people? We’ve barely reached all ten Canadian provinces and three territories! How can we plant new congregations in the host of communities where they are needed? How are we even going to defeat sin and temptation in our own lives? How are we going to get over big disappointments and cruel circumstances? How are we going to get along with other Christians so the church can grow and develop?

We aren’t the first to ask these questions, nor will we be the last to wonder if we are capable. Remember the great men and women of Biblical history. Read Hebrews 11 and exult in their successes. All of them were mere human beings with faults and failures. They succeeded in the times and places where God called them to accomplish what seemed impossible.

What big challenges are you facing this year? You can’t do it on your own, but you can succeed by trusting in Jesus and relying upon His help. He has all authority in this world, the very world into which He sends us. He is with us every day, all day, giving us courage, energy and grit. We’re weak, He’s strong. We can’t, He can. We wonder, “Why me?” He says, “Because I can help you!”

Don’t just ask if we can do it, turn the question into a statement: “WE CAN DO IT!”

Barrie ON