PRAYER: Thank You Lord, that You remain faithful and dependable, even when I stray from the path that You have graciously laid out for me. May I never forget that You are my firm Anchor and the steady Rock upon which I stand, and that no difficulty in life is to great that You cannot overcome – thank You in Jesus name, Amen.
GOD GIVES US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE, WHY?
Have you ever had a bad day? All of us have! Have you ever had that bad day turn into a bad week? Many of us have! Have you ever had that bad week turn into a bad month? Some of us have? Have you ever had that bad month turn into a bad year? A few of us have! Do you see where we’re headed here? An honest assessment of life shows us that there are times that life as we know it reaches a point where we’re so beat down and discouraged that we don’t know what direction to go!
Now when times get tough our friends and family come along side and try to comfort and encourage us, and inevitably some person will utter the infamous words “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Though their meant to be encouraging, more often than not what is heard are not words of encouragement but something along the lines of… “Cowboy Up, you Wimp”.
Now it’s easy to spout trite Christian-like platitudes of bumper-sticker based theology that are designed to make people feel better, but such things do very little good in face of the actual brokenness of our world. In fact when people buy into them it creates a whole host of spiritual landmines that can do intense damage to our spiritual lives…
Often when we read the text… “provide a way of escape, that we may endure” what we hear is… “when we’re suffering, God won’t let us suffer more than we can handle”.
WHEN LIFE CLOSES IN ON US!
• God doesn’t give anyone pain, illness, or death. He allows suffering but never wills it; He permits it, but never causes it.
• So when we use such a response, based on a miss-reading of scripture, not only is the phrase a “sentimental claptrap” it’s a lie that slanders the character of God!
• Even Jesus had days when life was more than he could handle – The night before Jesus was executed, He cried out in the garden, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Jesus told His father, “This is too much for me!”
• We see this kind of thing in the Psalms, too. The Psalmists ball their fists in rage, and shout at God, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22) In their sadness they say, “darkness is my closest friend” (Psalm 88)
• What these verses teach us is that it’s OK to feel like we can’t handle it, like we are going to give up. We can cry out, “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” And when we do this, we find God—the one who, in the person of Jesus, suffers with us.
• More than once in life I’ve been driven to my knees, simply because I’ve had nowhere else to go, and when there God met me there, and gave me the strength to move forward!
When we become aware that life will give us more than we can handle and come to grips with this, we find a promise: God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain. (John 16:33)
CONCLUSION: I’ve often trudged through trials that overwhelm me. Ever since my childhood there has been trials that have made me “grow up” pretty fast, faster than I wanted to or should have. But I know I’m not the only one to walk that path, I know for a fact you’ve had your own fair share too. Why? Because that’s the reality of life! No matter what situation you’re in today, whether it’s a new diagnosis, financial pressure, a stressful family situation, or an unknown future, you can face fears. Why? 1st John 4:4 gives us the answer… We fight not for victory but from victory! Are you victorious today? If not you can be! Jesus gives victory; Jesus gives freedom… all you have to do is come!
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Author: Tripp Hudgins is a musician and scholar based in Berkeley, CA. Read more.