But God Can!

Originally, this message was going to be titled “Power Shortage.” But every time I tried to start writing what I’ve seen happening in the lives of those around me and in the life of the church, the wheels in my brain ground to a halt. I just couldn’t get a grasp on what I wanted to share. I tried changing topics, but that didn’t happen either. I was stymied. I couldn’t change the sermon topic, but I also couldn’t get down on paper the message I felt God wanted me to get across. Finally, after much prayer and sharing with some friends, I discovered what the problem was.

“Power shortage” is a negative term. It connotes something is missing—namely, POWER. The phrase conjures up helplessness, weakness and inability. It talks about what we don’t have and what we all know we need in our lives—POWER.

Over the past few months, the Lord has revealed to me that what we have seen at work in the church—what I’ve been experiencing in my own life as I try to juggle two or three tasks—has nothing to do with a power shortage. Rather, God is revealing some secrets of power that are available to every child of God no matter what the need or the problem is, how weak or how strong their faith.

I went to the well and came up dry four times because I was approaching the happenings of the past few months from the standpoint of my own inadequacies, weaknesses, needs and failures instead of from the vantage point of God’s boundless supply. I was becoming so focused on the needs that were not being met that I was oblivious to the resources by which they would and could be addressed.

I’ve Had It!

In the past few months, I have seen sorrow and joy. I’ve been with some who have witnessed the rapid decline of a loved one’s health and talked with others eagerly anticipating graduation celebrations. Like you, I have basked in the glory of springtime and have sat stunned by the televised pictures of wildfires and torrential floods decimating Yellowstone National Park.

I leapt for joy on the mountaintops as we saw our society and congregation coming back to life after a protracted season of Covid. Together, we’ve celebrated an influx of new members and questioned “why” as we share the heartache of distressing diagnoses, unexpected job losses.

But in the sorrows, there has been joy. In questioning and doubting, there is still faith. In my own power shortage—days of weakness and inability—I have discovered a strength, power and a certainty that only God can give. That strength, power and rock-hard certainty of faith and trust that is God’s alone to give was mine for the taking. I couldn’t buy it, or earn it, or “whump” it up on my own initiative. It was God’s to give and mine to receive. All I had to do was accept it as my own by faith.

I’ll admit, at times, it isn’t easy. It never is. We all respond to tragedy, trial and tribulation in different ways at different times. Sometimes the pressures of life become more than we can bear and even the strongest Christian is bowed low. As pressures and tensions mount, sooner or later we find ourselves crushed. We can’t take anymore with too much going wrong and not enough going right. Have you ever been there?

I’m Done!

What do you do? How do you respond when everything has tanked? What do you do when one tragedy after another comes crashing down upon you? Where do you turn when all your friends, and even your family, turn their backs on you? When you’re beaten down, discouraged, anxious, frustrated, exhausted and at the end of your rope, what do you do?

In the Old Testament, the prophet Job had two alternatives when his world crumbled around him. The book that bears his name tells us that this man was the richest man in the land of Uz. He was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.2

But when God allowed Satan to test him, Job lost everything! His seven sons and three daughters were killed. All of his livestock was destroyed. His health was taken from him. He was covered with boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. His wife’s suggested solution would have made sense to a lot of people—maybe even to you. Indeed, many in far less severe straits the Job would have taken her advice to curse God and die! 3

Many who are distressed by one difficulty after another, who feel troubles pile up for them faster tan the snow of a January blizzard, will blame and curse God for their fate. In ager and hurt and frustration, they will shake their fist at the sky and scream, “Why me, God” It’s not fair! What are You trying to do to me!” And they turn away from Him.

I Can’t.

And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.4

Job recognized that all he had, all he was and all he ever hoped to be was in God’s hands. He was willing to trust God to work in him and his best interested even though his whole world had been destroyed. A lesser man than Job may well have thrown u his hands in despair and resignation and cried, “I quit! I can’t take anymore!” But Job worshipped! In effect, his prayer was simply, “I can’t, but God can!”

For some, when problems pile up, trials and troubles increase, frustrations and disappointments mount they deal with it by giving up. Despondency, depression, even apathy take over. They collapse—spiritually, emotionally, even physically–stop trying and they quit! The fight is gone. Sometimes, if the pressures become unbearable, they try to escape—through a bottle or a pill or even death. The “I can’t” becomes so strong that the promise “but God can” is muted or stilled.

But God Can.

Job’s response, however, was different. Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

That’s the secret of the Christian faith. I is the key to power and to overcoming, the key to joy in spite of the circumstance. That’s the central theme of so many of Jesus’ teaching. With God, all things are possible.5 If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing will be impossible to you.6 That’s the message Paul tried to get across to the Philippians, I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.7 Dr. Norman Vincent Peale calls these the “10 magic words of the Christian faith.” I CAN (not I can’t) DO ALL THINGS (not some things) THROUGH HIM (not on my own) WHO STRENGTHENS ME (not my strength and power, but His).

During the past few weeks, I keep rediscovering the truth of those words. Through all the ups and downs, I am finding again the truth in the old Gospel hymn—“Without Him, I could do nothing. Without Him, I’d surely fall. Without Him, I would be drifting/Like a ship without a sail.” Indeed, sometimes it would be easier to give up, abandon all hope and faith, throw up your hands in despair and cry, “What’s the use?!” When your world is crashing down around you, everything is going wrong, family and friends misunderstand and accuse and condemn you, everything you touch turns sour…it’s time to plug into God’s secret power supply.

But That Was Then.

The early Christians knew trial and tribulation. They were well acquainted with disaster and deception. They experienced the mountain tops of joy and the valleys of despair. Tragedy, heartache, misunderstand, persecution, death were not strangers to them. Yet through it all, like Job, they held on to their faith and declared with God ALL things are possible.5

Because of their faith and trust in God, their absolute assurance in His love and presence with them (even in the most trying and tempting of situations), they could claim with the apostle Paul:

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose…What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or family, or nakedness, or peril or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.8

This is now.

In the past few months, I’ve seen and talked with many people who have had every reason to quit, to give up and say, “I can’t.” For some, tragedy has piled upon tragedy. For others, their world has been turned upside down by the loss of a job or their health or their home. Others have had distressing news from a doctor. Still others have seen their livelihood take a hit from inflation, injustice and even favoritism. The faith of others has been sorely tested by misunderstanding, by jeering criticism, by suspicion and false accusation. Arguments, harsh words, anger, bitterness and resentment have taken their toll.

But, through it all has run the refrain “I can’t but GOD can.” In the face of overwhelming odds, again and again, I’ve heard and experienced that “nothing is impossible with God.”  Again and again, in my life and the lives of others (as well as in the life of our church), I’ve watched as the pressures and temptation and trials mount. And, again and again, I’ve seen God work a miracle. I’ve seen and experienced God at work in human lives.

Out of my experiences in the past several weeks, our corporate experience as a congregation and as individuals and the experience and testimonies of others whose lives have touched mine, I bring you this promise and message.

THERE IS NO POWER SHORTAGE IN GOD.

What you can’t do, God can do. When everything is crashing down around you, you can’t hold on anymore, you are ready to throw up your hands and call it quits, let God take over. Watch Him work in your life as you give Him full control. In the darkness and confusion of the trials you face, when everything is going wrong, life gives you more than you can bear, turn it over to Jesus. Let Him take control, touch you and work a miracle of faith in your life.

I can’t. You can’t. But God Can.

Scripture Used Today

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
  2. Job 1:1
  3. Job 2:9
  4. Job 1:20-22 (NKJV)
  5. Matthew 19:26
  6. Matthew 17:20
  7. Philippians 4:13
  8. Romans 8:28, 31, 35,37

Maple UMC Calendar

September 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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2
3
4
  • Worship Service with Holy Communion
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
5
6
  • Breakfast Buddies
7
  • SWMi Young Marines
8
9
10
11
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
12
13
  • Breakfast Buddies
14
  • SWMi Young Marines
15
  • Finance Team
  • Amateur Radio Society
16
17
  • Leadership Team
18
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
19
20
  • Breakfast Buddies
21
  • Golden Maples
  • SWMi Young Marines
22
23
24
25
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
26
27
  • Breakfast Buddies
28
  • SWMi Young Marines
29
30

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