The Little Engine That Couldn’t

the little engine that could

We are all familiar with “The little engine that could.” A little steam engine pulls a big train over a big hill, or (depending on the version) a little engine is loaded with an abnormally large cargo and has to make it over that big hill. He ends up doing so by believing in himself and relying on his own strength. He chugs slowly up the hill. With every inch he repeats the famous phrase: “I think I can. I think I can.”

This is a wonderful fable about positivism and self-reliance. I get that. But please understand: it is fiction both literally and figuratively. Eternally-speaking, no amount of positive thinking or determination will help you. The impossible task set before us, that hill so high, that load so heavy; cannot be overcome on our own tenacity.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

You might as well be saying: “I know I can’t. I know I can’t.”

Now, before you run me out of town as a Debbie-downer, remember there is hope. There is such wonderful hope because: I know the One who can.

Jesus can get you over that hill. Jesus can help you bear that load. But you have to let Him. He won’t take over without your consent.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Gal. 2:20

I know I can’t, but I know God can. “I know God can, I know God can” should be our famous phrase.

We are the little engine that couldn’t… but relied on Jesus who could!

Not as catchy, I know, but much more true.