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Summary: God’s power is strongest when we can admit our weaknesses

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As I was growing up, my favorite children’s story was

‘The Little Engine that Could’ attributed to Mabel C. Bragg,

a teacher in Boston, Massachusetts.

The gist of the story is that a long train must be

pulled over a high mountain. Larger and more powerful

engines are asked to pull the train but for various

reasons they refuse. At last in desperation the train

asks the little switch engine to take it up the mountain

and down on the other side. “I think I can,” puffed the

little locomotive, as it attaches itself to the front of

the great heavy train. The other engines all mock the

little engine for trying, but that did not stop the little

engine.

As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster

and faster, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

Then as it near the top of the mountain, that had so

discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly, but still

kept saying, “I--think--I--can, I--think--I--can,

I--think--I--can.” It reached the top of the mountain through

its brave, persistent effort. Then going down the other side,

the little engine congratulated itself saying, “I thought

I could, I thought I could.” By chugging on with his motto

I-think-I-can, the engine succeeded in pulling the train

over the mountain.

Without realizing it, children seem to adopt one of two operating

philosophies of life from this story. Some of them look at life

and just like the larger and more powerful engines they make all

sorts of excuses because in the back of their minds they are

thinking “I don’t think I can. I don’t think I can.” It does

not matter what opportunities come their way, they still believe

“I don’t think I can.” This attitude prevents them from

taking risks and holds them back from stepping out in faith

to attempt great things for God. They let their fear of

failure slowly chip away at God’s work within them. They

need revival!

In the Bible we see this in the story of Jesus walking on

the water. Eleven of the disciples stayed huddled in the

boat. They were afraid to take the risk and try to walk on

the water toward Jesus.

Why are those with this operating philosophy - “I cannot do

it.” - failing? Because for years they have had the wrong

answer.

It is not about them and what they cannot do or think that

they cannot do. Instead it is about God and what God can do.

As Paul says in Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is not what I cannot do. It is what Christ can do through me!

Other children become the little engine that could: “I think

I can. I think I can.” It does not matter what obstacles come

their way, they still believe “I think I can. I think I can.”

We also see this attitude in the story of Jesus walking on the

water. Peter thought he could. So in the middle of the lake

Peter stepped over the side of the boat and started to walk on

the water toward Jesus. As he took his eyes of off Jesus, he

immediately began to sink.

Someday they will finally hit a wall and discover that they can

not. Positive thinking is not the answer.

As Jack Zuflet writes…


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