Devotional: ‘I Can’t, But God Can’


During the 1800’s there was a man by the name of Hudson Taylor who served as a missionary to China for 51 years.  Throughout his lifetime of ministry, Hudson Taylor worked to help bring thousands of Chinese people to the Lord and hundreds of missionaries to the field. When we hear of someone like Hudson Taylor we think – ‘Wow! What a giant in the faith!’ Yet consider what Hudson Taylor had to say – “All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them.” Hudson Taylor felt inadequate for the task and so have many of God’s greatest servants. Consider the story of Jeremiah the prophet.

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

God gave Jeremiah a very difficult task. It would be his duty to preach to the rebellious people of Israel and to call them to repentance. Though Jeremiah did not know at the beginning how hard his task would be, he felt it was more than he could handle.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

“I can’t” he said. “I am only a child.” Many believe that he was perhaps in his late teens or early twenties at the time. Calling himself a child was a reference not only to his age, but also his inability and experience.

7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

Many of God’s greatest servants have struggled with feeling inadequate. Moses questioned “Who am I?” and so did David and Solomon. Charles Spurgeon struggled with depression over his failures and so did Martin Luther.

The feeling of inadequacy is not only common, it is perhaps appropriate. The Apostle Paul wrote – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5) God is not looking for celebrities. He is looking for servants. God is looking for – “weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them.”

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