Invisible Suitcases – “I Am Powerless”

October 9, 2022

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One of the first books I can remember reading with my Mom was the classic: “The Little Engine That Could.” Do you remember it? No other train was willing to take on the task. The little blue train was. It was difficult, but he repeated to himself in the rhythm of the track: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” And he did. This is one of the earliest memories I have of a story of human empowerment. 

And there are so many of them! So many sports movies of teams winning when they shouldn’t have, stories of people achieving their dreams while overcoming impossible odds, people even overcoming their bodies to do what they have to do. There are so many of these stories, because we need them. So many people just quit. We come to a life situation and we say: “I don’t think I can.” And we do this because what’s packed in our invisible suitcase is the idea, “I have no power.” 

Paul crushes that thought in us with what he writes in Philippians 4. It’s a verse you have maybe heard before: 

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”But Jesus isn’t to be treated like pixie dust to sprinkle over your life so that all your dreams will come true. that’s not what Paul was teaching. In fact, he calls what he knows a “secret.” Here’s what Paul is teaching.  

Christians aren’t little super heroes that leap from power to power and from joy to joy. We’re people who sometimes see astounding success and sometimes see soul numbing trouble. We’re people who sometimes find bright solutions and other times stare at a problem only to find more problems. But that doesn’t mean we need to carry around an invisible suitcase with the idea inside, “I’m powerless.” Because we’re not. And that’s not because we’ve got all the answers or have peppered enough Jesus onto every situation, but because come what may we’ve still got our glory, our peace, our everything, our Jesus. Or to say it like a man named Paul who lived a whole lot of this life said it: I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 

Philippians 4:10-13

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be contentwhatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.