You Can’t. But I Can.


I am a detailed, all-my-ducks-in-a-row, super organized kind of gal.

So when I set out for Maryland to serve as a summer missionary without knowing very many details (such as what type of work I would be doing for the majority of the summer or better yet, who would pick me up from orientation), I was…well…overwhelmed. 

But I also trusted that the Lord had guided me to this opportunity, so I tried not to be overly concerned.

I had driven my own car up there, so on the morning I arrived, I met a few other summer missionaries and leaders at the state office.  Then we all headed to BWI airport in Baltimore to meet the other summer missionaries’ flights, so we could travel to Ocean City that afternoon for a few days of orientation together before going to our separate ministry sites. 

As more and more students gathered, we naturally started talking about our plans and expectations for the summer.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that most of the other missionaries had spoken to their supervisors several times (in comparison, I had only spoken with mine once), knew the basic ministry areas in which they would serve, and knew exactly who was picking them up from orientation later that week. 

Even so, I tried to convince myself the details were not a big deal and assumed that God was teaching me a lesson in absolute trust.

However, a couple of days later – still at orientation – while sitting on the floor of the “hotel” room (it used to be a hotel, but at the time was owned by the host church) and having my quiet time with the Lord, it suddenly struck me how little I knew about the summer and how utterly unprepared I was. 

Let’s just say, I hit my panic point.

Expecting a Philippians 4:13 type answer (“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”), I cried out to the Lord with everything in me, “I can’t DO this!”

But the answer I expected was not the answer God gave.  Although not in an audible voice, I clearly heard the Lord respond, “You’re right.  You can’t.  But I can.” 

And somehow, He led me to this passage…


“As for God, His way is perfect;

the word of the Lord is flawless.

He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.

For who is God besides the Lord?

And who is the Rock except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength

and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of the deer;

He enables me to stand on the heights.

He trains my hands for battle;

my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You give me Your shield of victory;

You stoop down to make me great.

You broaden the path beneath me,

so that my ankles do not turn.”

 2 Samuel 22: 31-37 (New International Version)


Context: This is a song of praise to the Lord that David sang after the Lord delivered him from his enemies. (See verse 1.  And while you’re at it, read the whole song/chapter.  You won’t be sorry!)

Feet? Hands? Arms? Ankles?

He gives me strength and victory?  He is a shield and rock?  He enables me to stand?  He makes my way perfect?

In that moment, I finally got it.  It wasn’t about what I could do.  It was about what the Lord had already prepared and equipped every. single. part. of me to do for HIM according to HIS plans. 

“You’re right.  You can’t.  BUT I CAN.”


One thought on “You Can’t. But I Can.

  1. A Cupcake For Moose

    Hi Emily,

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I’m so glad to find out about yours, too! Very thoughtful post, and a great reminder of who is truly in control. I need this reminder. 🙂 It’s not about me, it’s about God’s strength in me.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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