I’m not sure that’s true…
Since the summer began, and specifically more often once Grandma was diagnosed, I’ve been told over and over that “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I’ve mulled over the statement more times than I care to admit. I’ve said it myself so many times, in situations where I want to explain away the hurt and the pain. It’s a wonderful sentiment. This idea that God will only give you just enough to handle, that He’s knows our breaking point and doesn’t tip the scale into Too Much. It’s a way to offer comfort to the hurting, this idea that God knows you can handle this because you’re this strong.
“But…” I turned to Jon in the car one day, “I don’t think its true.”
This idea that its because of our own strength that God won’t give us too much to bear doesn’t seem to fit with what I know to be true of God. I think it turns focus inward, into ourselves, and into our own strength. After all, if we’re strong enough to handle the unthinkable, where’s the need for God at all?
God doesn’t like seeing His children hurt. He hurts when we hurt. “God is close to the brokenhearted…” It’s a promise, my God is compassionate and merciful in that way. When the pain is especially sharp and raw, He is holding me and hurting with me.
Its similar in watching Devyn and Hudson navigate the muddy waters of elementary schools, friends, classmates, and bullies. When one comes home with hurt feelings, I hurt and ache along with them. I don’t have to experience the hurt firsthand to ache when they ache. The same is true of God. He’s there in the hurt and pain, wanting to take it from me, as I want to take it from them.
But I certainly don’t think He withholds circumstances from us because we’re too weak. WHEN I AM WEAK, HE IS STRONG. I think when life is throwing challenge after challenge at you, God knows you’re not strong enough to handle it. He’s simply waiting for you to turn to Him and say, “I can’t do this on my own. I NEED you! Its because of my strength IN you that I am able to bear this.”
God allows the hard and the painful, not as a punishment or a test, but to allow us the opportunity to depend on Him and solely Him. We will never understand the big picture (which is a whole other post in itself) but I can trust two things…
- The big picture is gorgeous. He’s placing people and circumstances in such a way as to create a Masterpiece. The pain I feel today will be used in another piece of the puzzle tomorrow.
- When I allow God to work in me and through my pain, His glory is revealed. I’m not doing this in my own strength, for that was depleted a long while ago. Any strength or circumstance withstood, has been because of Him and His strength.
Please don’t think I don’t appreciate the sentiment or the intent behind the statement. That’s surely not the case. It’s a beautiful idea and I’m thankful for the thought! But any strength perceived in me is just that, a perception. These days He’s carrying me, and I’m perfectly ok to be in that place.
“Yet, I still belong to you; you hold my right hand…” Psalm 73:23