I’ve been noticing a lot of heads hitting brick walls lately. Mountains that aren’t moving. Circumstances refusing to change. Issues once conquered creeping back to life. Situations that remind me of our vast limitations…
I recently read a story about the founder of the Passion Movement, Atlanta Pastor Louie Giglio. Years ago when he attended college, he had to walk sixteen blocks to classes; as he walked, he started repeating one phrase over and over again…I can’t but He can. From home to school…I can’t but He can. I can’t but He can. It was a simple mantra, but it produced in him a passionate abandonment to God. I believe it’s a mindset we would do well to emulate.
Obviously, a mindless repetition of I can’t, but He can won’t cause us to deepen our dependency on God any more than willing ourselves to be thinner transforms us to a size 5. But I think three factors help us cultivate a way of living that relies on the Holy Spirit rather than our own might or power: desperation, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and a healthy dose of humility.
It’s probably easiest to say I can’t but He can when we are so desperate that we know we can’t. If God doesn’t come through—it’s over. Someone has said, “God’s office is at the end of our rope.” In his grace and mercy, he will let us get to the end of ourselves until there’s no place else to go but to Him.
Yet even after we experience victory, self-sufficiency proves to be stubborn. If we’re not careful, we will slowly retreat into an Okay, God I can take it from here mindset. Israel constantly had to be reminded of how much they needed to depend on God and I suspect we’re not a lot different. Remember the story of Gideon? When God commissioned him to lead Israel against the Midianites, he was forced to slash his army from 22,000 to 300 men lest he take credit for the victory (Judges 7:2).
So if desperation has you in a place where God stands as your only option, don’t squander the opportunity to develop the sweet dependency and trust he desires with his people. Make Pastor Giglio’s prayer your own….I can’t but He can.