Before reading the “official” post below, I need to admit something. This post? I actually wrote it the better part of two months ago.
And while I will be the first to admit that things like timeliness, punctuality, etc. are certainly not a skill set of mine, I haven’t posted it yet not because I forgot, or ran out of time.
For some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to post it.
I’m not sure if I was scared of people’s reactions, if I was at a low point myself, or what it was.
But whatever the reason it has sat, waiting, for a while now.
This past week however after seeing a few various social media postings, from both sides of the proverbial coin, I’m taking it as a sign from the the Lord telling me it’s time to share.
And now that I have given you what is probably an unnecessary preface (makes me feel better, I guess?), I’d like to share with you some of my (somewhat) recent thoughts.
“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before.
You may have even used it yourself once or twice.
It’s a definite contender for “most popular phrase” used in times of grief, or pain, or trials.
I personally have run across this phrase fairly often in light of recent events.
I know (at least I hope) it comes from a well meaning heart.
Someone looking to help ease the pain.
To give the situation just a glimmer of hope.
And even outside of hearing it said to me
This phrase is everywhere.
Splashed in fancy cursive writing on a scenic beach background.
Repeated again and again in motivational speeches and even sermons to encourage never giving up! It will never get so bad you cannot overcome.
But the more I hear this phrase the more it bothers me.
Really bothers me.
Bear with me a moment, and let me explain.
See, this phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is deceptive.
If you really break it down, it would seem that this is implying that God will never exhaust our own personal strength.
God will never give us more than our strength can handle.
And this kind of thinking, it’s a bit dangerous.
See, this implies that you and I
We are strong.
We are pull ourselves up by our bootstraps when life gives you lemons hear me roar
And this thinking is definitely dangerous.
Thinking that we are strong enough to handle whatever life throws at us
All by ourselves.
Simply because we trust that it’ll never become “that bad.”
Oh, how highly God must think of us to give us such difficult trials!
Because remember, He will never give you more than you can handle.
But the reality of the situation is
We aren’t strong.
See if you think about it
We can’t even ensure our own next breath.
There is no guarantee that we will even have a next breath.
And if we cannot do something seemingly so simple as make sure we take the next breath
And the next
And the next
How are we supposed to be sure we have the strength to endure suffering?
How can we know we will be able to stand up to the pain?
Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now.
If the phrase saying God will not give more than can be handled is not accurate.
Then it must mean the opposite is true.
That God will, in fact, allow us to be given situations harder than we can bear.
He will allow suffering, and pain, and hurt, that breaks us.
That brings us to our knees both figuratively and literally.
That is not such a nice thought.
Remember when I said that phrase illuminates the idea that we are strong enough on our own?
This is why we are brought to situations harder than we can handle.
Than we can fathom even possibly surviving.
That break us and take any hope we had left and dissolve it completely.
Because we. are. not. strong.
We cannot stop suffering and pain and trials and we certainly cannot make ourselves better because of it.
I mean, we can’t even always simply change our attitude about a situation.
Let alone fix it
Or make it better.
Or come out the other side “better” and “stronger.”
Not on our own.
We are given more than we can handle because we need this reminder.
We are not strong.
And often it is only when we are completely and totally broken that we remember that we are not supporting ourselves.
But rather, that God is our support.
That when we trust in Him and give ourselves totally and completely over to Him
Confessing our sin and committing to following Him
He will give us what we need to survive this life.
He will give us the strength when we have none.
He will make us “stronger” and “better” on the other side.
He will bring us safely, in a manner of speaking, to our eternal life.
How do I know this?
We cannot stop or overcome or even often handle the ultimate trial.
We cannot overcome death.
And He did.
Oh, how He did.
Though I need to confess.
I really struggle with this.
I don’t want life to be overwhelming.
Or more than I can or want to handle.
I don’t want to continue life without my mom.
I don’t want to ever endure sickness or pain or anxiety or loss.
It is hard.
It breaks me.
But, in the midst, God is kind.
He is merciful and patient and loving.
And doesn’t give up on me when my attitude stinks.
And He continues to remind me and show me that in this life
I WILL have trouble.
This is not my home.
But I need only to cling to Him and allow Him to hold me and lead me.
I don’t need to muster up anything when life gets hard. I need only to ask and trust and He will give me the strength I need to make it though.
Until I finally make it home.