I Can’t Do This

In 11 more months, I will no longer be the senior pastor here at EFCCL. I fight off the anticipated grief I know will come on me as a flood when I walk out of this facility for the last time and leave behind my brothers and sisters in Christ, who are as much “family” to me as those related by blood. After all, we are related by the Blood of the Lamb!

People keep asking me, “What’s next for you, Pastor?” And my answer remains the same, “I’m not yet on a ‘need to know’ basis with my Lord on this one. When He knows that I need to know, then He’ll tell me.” But I must admit, patience has never been one of my virtues.

It dawns on me what mercy it is that God doesn’t give us peeks and glimpses into the otherwise murky unknowns of our future. If we saw what might be just around the corner, we’d probably run the other way thinking, “I can’t do this.” It might be an extraordinary and great responsibility God is waiting to entrust to us. Or a severe tragedy or illness which will demand time and resolve we can’t imagine being able to muster. Or maybe it could be a meandering set of harsh and confusing circumstances that our quick glimpse sees as going on and on and on — with no end in sight. And we whisper inside ourselves, “I can’t do this!”

Life is filled with “I can’t do this” sorts of experiences. Paul had a mysterious “thorn in the flesh” that he pleaded with God on three separate occasions to remove, saying “I can’t do this.” And all three times God came back with the bold and affirming truth, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul actually came to the place of relishing weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties for he discovered the wonder of God’s strength in his personal weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:8-10). He achieved the understanding that, “I can’t do this by myself, but God can do this in and through me!”

I think of the words of Asaph in Psalm 73: “Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And being with You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (vv. 23-26). Asaph concludes his psalm with these words, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.” Yes! That’s what we need to know when we’re not yet on a need-to-know basis with our Lord about the next steps in life! The sovereign God who will hold us by our right hand and guides us with His counsel will be ever near, supplying every grace we need for our next “I can’t do this” experience!

I take comfort in knowing that, don’t you?

by Bob Page, Senior Pastor