On the Days I Just Can’t

Book Cover 3

I huddle in the dark, the red numbers of the clock scrolling higher. I take a breath–deepest in a while–shuddering, almost a gasp in the nighttime. I close my eyes, rolling around bitter words in my head.

Why can’t I ever finish well?

Can it ever be a good sign to keep returning to “here I am again”?

Biting the dust…again.

Running out of drive…again.

Falling to my knees seeing that when I started feeling like I was good enough–strong enough–that’s when I began to slip back.

I recall the promise–He who has begun a good work in you will complete it, will perform it (Philippians 1:6). Paul was so confident of it.

Am I?

It’s so hard to cling to a filmy reality when the doubts are as hard as a physical wall. I keep plowing into that wall again and again.

Over and over I have tried and it just won’t stick. Many things I know to be right–it’s all furious flame and glory comes down. And then the dull rhythm that makes up a life sets in and I just stop trying after a while. Maybe I stop remembering all the efforts of the past. Any way I see it, I fail again.

My inconsistencies and failures chink into stony piles, judgment rocks that did get thrown. Thrown into a condemnation heap.

Why do those good intentions shimmer away like summer-time bubbles? What about hard-edged reality is stronger than my idealism?

Most importantly, why do I keep thinking I can handle my problems on my own?

Why do I persist in the living-out of a belief that says the “cross that saved me is not enough to solve me”? (The words of John Lynch, one of the authors of the book TrueFaced. Watch his minute and a half video here).

In his commentary on 2 Corinthians 12, Matthew Henry wrote:

“Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always give what is asked for: as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love. When God does not take away our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives grace enough for us, we have no reason to complain. Grace signifies the good-will of God towards us, and that is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort in all afflictions and distresses. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified. When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we feel that we are weak in ourselves, then we go to Christ, receive strength from him, and enjoy most the supplies of Divine strength and grace.” [emphasis mine]

S0–the reason that I fail? The reason that I just can’t get anything right?

It’s because I really can’t.

But, sisters–that glorious but–my Jesus can. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10, NKJV).

Do you hear that? I am complete in Him. You are complete in Him. Because in him dwells all the fullness of God.

All the power, all the glory–all.

What does that mean, really? In the words of Francis Schaeffer, “How now should we live?”

It means when we get up in the morning, we “fall” the first chance we get–to our knees and tell him we can’t, but He can. (For more on “falling,” see Jennifer Rothschild’s book Lessons I Learned in the Dark.)

It means our hearts “fall” every time we get overwhelmed, and every time we start to think that maybe we can do it on our own after all. Trust me, you can’t. Only He can.

And it means that when we have problems, the grace is already there to see us through.

We just have to ask.

Charles Spurgeon said:

“God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength which He Himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Taken courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up (Morning and Evening, November 4 Morning).

Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

John 16:24b, NKJV


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