As I was growing up, my mom always said to me “can’t never did anything.” I didn’t really understand what she meant when I was young. But she always said it cuz I was so shy and fearful and never wanting to try anything and always saying “I can’t” whether with my words or with my actions.
My third grade teacher, Mrs. Jackson, took me under her wing for the same reason. I was always saying “I can’t” and was pitifully shy and fearful. It looked like she was favoring me and had made me the teacher’s pet, and in a way she had, but I believe it was favoritism that had a purpose.
As I look back with adult eyes now, I can see my teacher put me in situations that forced me to have to face my fears. She made me try and try again until I accomplished what she asked. She deliberately held me to a higher standard because she could see that underneath my insecurities was the ability to do what I didn’t think I could do. I so loved my teacher for those high expectations. She believed in me. More than love, I trusted her with myself.
In the spiritual, “I can’t” is the same as saying “God can’t”. And that’s the reason God asks us to do hard things. Because “can’t never did anything”. And like the good and loving teacher he is, God sees what we can be (in him) and wants to help us face our fears and overcome our insecurities.
For without faith it’s impossible to please Him. He’s wanting to build our faith. He does that by growing his Son in us.
It’s just that his Son is entirely, absolutely, completely opposite of us. The things he wants to grow in us of Christ are humility, patience, and giving up our rights, sacrificing our self for the sake of sinners. All things that Christ did and IS. ..All things that we are not.
And so he puts trials in our path. Selfish people. Mistreatment and unfairness. Those who would speak evil of us. Things that try our patience. Difficulties. Hard things which stretch us to our limits… and far beyond. Just like Mrs. Jackson challenged me and gave me hard things to do that I didn’t think I could.
And like her, in those hard things God’s there encouraging us to get back up and keep going and to not give up. He holds us to a higher standard, the standard of his Son, because he knows that underneath our insecurities and lack of faith is the ability to become the glorious new creation he saw we could be from before the world began.
We’re so willing to be like Christ as long as it’s to do with love, and joy and peace and happy things. Ministry. Others. Honor and limelight. We’re not nearly so eager when the hard things we’re asked to do involve the sin and selfishness of others and dying to our own selves.
Yet those hard things in life are always the point of growth if we’ll follow him and trust. It might seem very backwards to say it, but trials are really God’s favor on us. Just like Mrs. Jackson was favoring me by stretching and challenging me. We don’t look at trials like that…. but God does. ???