March 21, 2021


Lord, I cannot!


          The piano in our home has been silent since Dean died. She loved to play the piano and I loved to hear her play. She loved to introduce me to new songs, like “Lord, I cannot,” composed by Jane LaRowe. It’s a beautiful song that touched my heart in tender places.

            Each verse pictures an impossible situation about which Jane cries, “Lord, I cannot.” A valley too deep. A mountain too high. A river too wide. A pathway that must be traveled alone.

            Most of us have faced times when we cried with Jane, “Lord, I cannot.” A health crisis. The loss of a job. A suicide. A tragic accident. The death of a spouse or a child.  But the Lord stepped in and gave us the strength to face what seemed unbearable.

            A popular chorus explains it this way: “He will make a way where there is no way.” That’s what Jane affirms in her song – when you are at the end of your rope, the Lord comes to your rescue. The Lord’s presence helps Jane walk through that deep valley. Gives her quiet strength to scale the high mountain. She crosses that wide river when the Lord holds her hand. On that lonely pathway, the Lord comes alongside her.

            Let’s face it. Life is one struggle after another. Just when you think you can relax, calamity strikes again. But perhaps that’s God’s plan. He is not trying to make us “happy.” Evidently, he wants us to learn to depend on him and let him give us the strength to persevere.  

            So the next time misfortune makes you cry, “Lord, I cannot,” expect the Lord to help you say, “Lord, I can!” Never forget that the God who created the valleys, mountains and rivers, is the same God who delights to help his children learn to say “Lord, I can,” as they face hardships.

My friend Mac was devastated. Within a couple of years, he lost his wife, his father and his son. His company was facing bankruptcy; his job was in jeopardy. Engulfed in a storm of grief and fear, he said, “I was terrified, fearing I would lose my sanity, commit suicide or go back to alcoholic drinking.” Then came the miracle. God whispered, “Before you destroy yourself, why don’t you go back to the mission I gave you three years ago which you abandoned?”

That jolting question led Mac to believe that God wanted him to throw himself unreservedly into helping others who were struggling to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.  He began doing that and, “Those were painful days in my life but they became the time of my greatest spiritual growth.” With Christ’s help, Mac moved from “cannot” to “can”!

            Whatever you are facing, stop and say it out loud: “Lord, I can!” Say it today. Say it tomorrow. Say it the rest of your life. Say it until you hear Him saying, “You can!” Then, believe me, you can!                  

+ + +