Sunday, May 21, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Does God Give Us More than We Can Handle
I have written about the year we lived in a house by the pond. The year of unemployment and great trials. The year I had to remind myself to breath. I can't tell you how many times I went to sleep at night telling God that if He wanted to take me before the morning that was just fine with me.
I have heard for years, no decades, that God does not give us anything more than we can handle. To be honest, that saying always made me think I must not be a very good Christian for there were many trials which were far more demanding than I could handle. Those which felt like heavy burdens crushing my faith to the floor.
Not a trial such as I had last week when I went on a local journey to have insulin after taking my last shot. No, I'm talking about the trials which run on for weeks and months and even years. When we understand why God tells us to "faint not" so many times in Scripture.
I have now been a Christian since oh, 1970-ish, and I'm learning that some truisms we hear are Truth and others may as well be from a book by Benjamin Franklin. We have heard them so many times we think they must be true and after all, teachers are quoting Scripture. However, have we looked closely at the context?
A few years ago I heard a teaching which set me free from the burden of it all. Why I didn't realize it before was beyond my comprehension. When a message came... whether on television or in a book, I can't recall... that what was most often preached about 1 Corinthians 10:13 was not necessarily God's Truth.
For you see, if you look at the verse in context what Paul is saying is actually this... God does not give you anything you cannot handle with Him. We whom God calls "but dust" really do fall apart and shatter under enormous burdens of trials and temptations if we tried to walk through them in our own strength.
I thought back to that year by the pond and recalled the hours upon hours spent sitting on the small cement stairs in the front of the house. With a view to the man made pond. Surrounded mostly by forest. That year was the reason my Bible opens to Psalms without trying. To this day. Well over a decade later.
As each day seemed to bring a trial that I could not handle, I ran to His presence. I waited upon Him each day... Bible open and ready to listen. He met me there on those stairs and as I walked the beach of Lake Michigan and as I hiked the forest trails with my (then) young son. I absorbed Him as if my very life depended upon it. For it did.
I had gone through trials previously but this was the first time I felt so alone, away from friends and extended family, with no sense whatsoever of where we would end up and how we would get there from here. I was completely unteathered to everything and everyone except my husband, son, and two old kitties.
That was the year of great pain but also amazing miracles. When I will "tell the old, old Story" in Eternity... the story will definitely include that year. When people tell me there is no God, I can say that I have a Story that proves He indeed does exist and that He cares about me and mine.
For that Bible verse does not say He never gives us anything we cannot handle. Indeed it is inferring He allows everything we cannot handle. Not without Him giving us a means of escaping each fiery dart the evil one sends our way. The joy of the Lord is my strength!
Of course, He knows we cannot handle very much adversity in this earthly vessel which He describes as everyday pottery. We are becoming fine china and that is only accomplished in the hottest of kilns... with an Artist watching closely that the carefully designed piece of art does not shatter with too much heat amidst the fire.
I often say to family and friends... perhaps more than they care to hear... that I cannot possibly imagine living in today's world without knowing the Lord. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit not just around me but in me. I have learned through experience to give Him the "what ifs" of life. For the Word tells me that no matter what happens, He is not off in another galaxy with no thought of this planet. On the contrary, he notices when a sparrow falls to the ground.
This is why in the Book of James, we are told to rejoice in trials for they are proving our faith. I can't say I have learned to rejoice in them, yet. However, I do know when God is allowing something extremely uncomfortable and frustrating in my life... to pay attention for He is looking for my response. Will I tremble in fear or trust Him?
I've done both. I've lost sleep at night worrying but thankfully those times have become less and less through the years. I visually see myself taking the trial and setting it at His feet in the Throne Room and then try not to take it back.
There is an old saying that is Truth... "If you can't trust His works then trust His character". For He is Love and He does love you.
As you draw near to Him and listen for what He wants you to learn in these trials, you will find that peace that passes all understanding as the very Creator of the universe makes you to be strong enough to run your race and reach the end of your journey hearing those longed for words, "Well done good and faithful servant". Not with your own human strength but with His.
Image: Nostalgia-Mini by Clement Micarelli