“God never gives you more than you can handle.”
I cannot count the number of times I have heard this phrase. Then there are the number of times I’ve said it to those around me going through travesties. I sincerely owe many people an apology. To say that God will never give us more than we can handle is to put a great deal of faith in ourselves and our own abilities to over come.
I know from my own experience that these words are little comfort in our times of need. When our marriage is failing, our loved ones have past on, when our circumstances are frankly overwhelming. These words do little more than let us know that the person speaking them has no real advice or consolation to offer to us.
I’ve even been guilty of saying these words to myself. Of inflating my own ego enough to think that I can make it through the dire times at hand. The truth is God does give us more than we can handle on our own. God does allow us to reach the brink of no return, to the point where we are desperately crying out “if you are out there somewhere save me”.
Sometimes we think that because we believe in God and live a mostly good life, when trials and tribulations come they are punishments for not being good enough or doing the right things. Sometimes they come as a surprise because we think we are mostly good people, so why do we deserve this?
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” 1 Peter 4:12 NIV
The bible tells us quite plainly however to expect these troubles. The bible is full of Gods promises to deliver those in need from the enemies hand. When we dig into the word, we even know we should expect to be persecuted for our belief in God. Most of us see some example of persecution daily on the news. We see stories about persecution and the Church so often that we tend to expect them. We don’t however expect the persecution, or troubles to come to our hometown, or even worse our homes and families.
Sometimes it seems like we face trial after trial. Trouble after trouble. First on our plate this year were issues with our son. Then our marriage. I’ve been sick a long time now- since November. Now our insurance is kicking over to Cobra coverage which we just can’t afford. I need to be back to work but I still can’t make it through a day at home without having at least four major asthma attacks. I have a job interview Monday morning. Does it ever stop?
If we could walk through life, doing basically good and receiving only good without any trials troubles, then why would need to believe in God? We could continue on doing what we want when we want and just face the consequences later- at Eternity.
Very rarely can I look at our current situation and see how the end result will be a blessing to my life. Almost always, however, I can look back and see how a bad situation, a time I thought I wouldn’t survive has blessed my life. I know the trials are just going to keep coming as we overcome each one. Each season or trial has a purpose. Every time I think I’ve drawn pretty close to the Lord in faith and in practice something happens that makes me realize I need him even more than before. I cannot count the times I’ve prayed “Lord if we ever needed you, we need you now more than ever before”.
I have started looking at each situation a little differently as I realize this, and say instead “God what are you trying to teach me now?” Now often I don’t get the answer in the way I would like. You see I have found three common answers to my prayers, Yes, No, and Wait. My favorite is wait. Some days I wonder if the Lord is trying to build up patience the size of mountains in me.
The truth is God is building up my faith. He is proving to me and those around me how real it is. How real He is. Someday all these trials and tribulations will result in praise, glory and honor to God, and Jesus Christ who saves us. Not all of these lessons may even be for me. The things I learn may be for you. They may be to show you that no matter how bad it gets, God will give peace, strength and exactly what we need to those who truly seek him and put there hope trust and love in him.
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” 1 Peter 1:7 NIV
When it seems like all stops are called, and you are fighting a battle you can’t win, remember that you can’t, not alone. Only through the Glory of God will you make it through unscathed. Take encouragement in the fact that even though you may be fighting the enemy right now, someone someday is going to need the lesson you are learning, and the story about how you made it through on your faith in God.