What If I Can’t Do What God’s Asking Me To?


Dear Roger and Brie,

I think God’s calling me to go into full-time ministry. I feel it in my gut. When I pray, it comes to my mind over and over again. But it’s so far from what I thought I’d do or be! Frankly, I don’t think I can—I’m just not ready or able to give up all the plans I’ve had for so long. What happens if I can’t do what He’s asking me to do right now?



Dear Steven,

            This is Brie. God is really clear that He has a specific, planned calling for each of His children. That can be incredibly reassuring or absolutely terrifying. Or both!

            I remember Dad telling me that he was just 13 years old when he knew God wanted him to be a pastor. He walked up the center aisle on the next Sunday morning, and by the end of that month, he was preaching his first sermon in front of the entire congregation.

            God kept calling him into more and more difficult, heavy responsibilities. From shepherding thousands of church members to preaching around the world to engaging in spiritual warfare, Dad said yes to God again and again.

            Everyone thought he was so brave. That he stood undaunted in the face of danger. That he never, ever said “no” to God’s call on his life.

            As his daughter, I saw behind the curtain. Dad used to wrestle with God in prayer, begging Him to take away the stress and pain of ministry. I remember him crying as he said “yes” to the ten-year process of relocating our church. He confessed that he’d begged God to take him out of the battle time and time again … and yet God allowed him to suffer horrific loss and brokenness.

            But I learned a remarkable lesson from my father. He always told God exactly what he was feeling and thinking. If he was afraid, he admitted it. If he was hurting, he described the pain. If he was just DONE, he let God know. And in those personal, honest conversations, God always heard his frustration and provided for his needs.


Let’s take a look at Moses. Did that man ever have excuses for saying “no” to God!

In Exodus 2, we learn that the children of Israel had been living as slaves in Egypt for nearly 400 years. They were tired. They were frustrated. They were struggling to hold onto hope.

God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He turned to Moses, the one-time prince of Egypt and now murderer, hiding as a shepherd in the land of Midian.

Moses didn’t seem like the perfect one to save the Israelites from slavery, did he? But God so often uses the weak to shame the strong and show His power (see 1 Corinthians 1:25-27).

God waited until Moses was alone in the desert, tending his sheep. Then He appeared to Moses in a burning bush, saying,

“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. … I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. … I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7-10)

Moses took one look at God and said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). He’s seriously talking back to the God of the universe!

I think the back and forth between Moses and God in the next few verses is fascinating. Every time Moses says, “But I can’t,” God says, “but I can.” God meets every excuse with the solution of His power and presence. He even gets into nitty-gritty instructions: “Moses, tell the Israelites these exact words.” “Moses, I will take care of Pharoah for you.”


You’d think that would be enough for Moses … you’d think.

But he kept going, trotting out excuse after excuse. My, our God is a patient God. I hope that gives you great hope! When I read this passage, I want to shake Moses and tell him to just do what God’s asking him to do. And yet, God, in His infinite grace, keeps meeting Moses’s needs for assurance.

            Look at Exodus 4. Moses asks for signs to show the people, so they’ll listen to him. God turns his staff into a snake and back again. He makes Moses’s hand leprous and heals him. Finally, God tells Moses that He will turn water into blood if the people still don’t believe.

            And after ALL THAT, Moses finds another excuse. “I can’t speak very well. No one will listen to me.”

            God—again, I’m amazed by His infinite patience—says, “I gave you your mouth. I will help you speak and tell you what to say” (Exodus 4:11-12).

            Moses turns God down. “Send someone else.”

            We know what happens. God provides Aaron to speak, and Moses leads the people out of Egypt. Miracle after miracle. And God’s will is complete.


            But I want you to really take in what God does with Moses’s excuses … because I’m sure you’ve felt the same way. I know I have.

            We struggle to believe that God would call little, insignificant me to do a big thing. We assume we don’t have the pedigree … we don’t have the political clout … we don’t have the friends or the army … we don’t have the resume or the standing.

            But HE does.

            No matter what excuses we offer for why we can’t answer His call, they fail in the presence of the God. We may fill our lives with all the reasons why we can’t follow or experience the promise of His Word, but every single reason falls apart when we recognize God’s power.

            We have value—value that wipes away our excuses—simply as God’s children. God orchestrated the very formation of your life, purpose, and gifts. He has a specific plan for your life and will equip you to see it through.

Pray like it. Believe in it. Act like it. God WILL meet your needs.

Thousands of people attended my dad’s memorial services, both in-person and online. More than anything else, I heard them say, “Your dad inspired me to pursue God’s will for my life.” He fulfilled God’s calling—not because he was perfect, but because he just said “yes” again and again. No matter the consequences.

Steven, I’d like to encourage you today. I know you’re afraid. I know you have so many reasons NOT to answer God’s call. Why don’t you tell Him? Give Him the opportunity to show His power in your weakness and knock down all of your excuses. You won’t regret it.



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