Yesterday I was hiding in the closet (really), trying to delay the inevitable possibility of more bad news. One more trial. Another hard thing to face and find my way through…not to mention lead my children through it, too. So I climbed in and did the only thing I know to do in moments like that…I prayed. Turns out, the report wasn’t so bad afterall. We didn’t have to deal with another painful situation. It was only a threat. But it got me thinking (sometimes I do too much thinking..)!
While in my closet praying, I was fighting the accusation of my heart that God was giving me too much to handle. Surely He had to know that I was beyond breaking point and couldn’t possible take anything more. I’m sure you’ve had similar thoughts at some point in your own journey.
In the middle of that struggle, however, I realized afresh that the point of God’s grace in our lives (well one point anyway) is that we are enabled to do that which we cannot do on our own. Some people think – and mistakenly say – that God will never give us more than we can handle. But: 1. Scripture never says such a thing, and 2. If that were true, we wouldn’t need to depend on God for much.
What Scripture does promise is written in 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear (some versions say beyond our ability), but when we are tempted, He will provide a way out of the temptation so that we can endure it. God does not give temptation. But sometimes He allows it (more on this in a future post!). And one of our greatest temptations, daily, is to rely on our own ways and our own strength. So what this verse promises me, us, is a way out of self-reliance. Because, in truth, the only ability we have to overcome temptation comes from God’s grace at work within us.
So, while God promises to never allow a temptation to be so great that I can’t – with His help – beat it, He does promise a power that almost necessitates our inability to handle the other stuff. The stuff He gives and the stuff He lets come our way. Because when I have everything under control, when “I got this,” I don’t need His grace. But when I am weak, when I am overwhelmed, when I can’t bear one more piece of bad news, then I am fully dependent upon His strength – which is promised to show up best in my weakness and inability (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The next time you are tempted to say, “God, I can’t handle this,” use it as an opportunity to thank Him for positioning you to receive more of His overcoming grace. When you feel like you just can’t take any more, look up and look for His help and His strength. And when you are tempted to say, “I got this,” ask for the grace to be humble and to receive the help you might not think you need. Because a shared yoke is easy and a shared burden is light, but a load carried alone will always weigh the shoulders down and lead the spirit to weariness and despair.
Thank God He knows me better than I know myself, and sends me both gifts and trials that cause me to run straight to Him! Thank God He gives me more than I can handle, so that He can handle it with me, and sometimes even for me. And thank God that, in everything, His design is for my good and His glory. It’s hard to go wrong with promises like these!