I think I can, I think I can…

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

A famous and much-beloved children’s book is called The Little Engine that Could.*

You know the one. A big, long train needs to be pulled over the mountain. It needs another train to do it. A large, strong engine refuses. Then another capable engine gives excuses. Reluctantly, the little engine is asked to help.

He starts pulling, repeating to himself, “I think I can, I think I can…”

It’s usually interpreted as a story about the power of positive thinking and hard work. And I’m guessing that many of us still think about it for some inspiration from time to time.

But to me it’s a warning against ego, and about the guilt that can accompany failure. I know, I know, that sounds pretty harsh! So let me explain.

It’s a warning against ego because it’s all about what WE can do instead of what GOD can do. And since we can often think that only WE have the strength and smarts to navigate the challenges of life, we can feel perpetually guilty about our LACK of strength and smarts when we inevitably fail.

Saying, “I think I can, I think I can,” may be a fun children’s story about the power of positive thinking and hard work, but it’s not really a helpful strategy when chugging over the mountains of life!

Times are tough times. There are many mountains—and stresses, and uncertainties, and…

But relying only on your strength while neglecting God’s is like trying to fly to England on a paper airplane when a Boeing 747 is waiting in the wings.

“I know he can, I know he can…”

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

By Matthew Ruttan

–I’m leading a new Sunday teaching series on the book of James called Down-To-Earth. Click here to watch a 36-second video intro about what to expect.

I’m a part of Walk4Freeom in October! It’s to raise awareness and funds in the fight against human trafficking. Click here to learn more, to offer some financial support to this important cause, or to see a video I did with a local volunteer engaged in the fight.  If you live close, you can even join our Barrie Team! Thank you.

–*With respect to this book, I’m recalling from memory since I don’t have a copy anymore. I tried to find the original author but the source seems a bit ambiguous.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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