Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Monday, June 11, 2018

How Much Can You Handle?

We've all heard it said "God won't give you more than you can handle."

Someone may have even shared that sentiment with you during a difficult time.

They meant to encourage you, I'm sure.

God won't give you more than you can handle?

But what about when...

a loved one dies?

you lose all your worldly possessions to a natural disaster?

the doctor says "it's terminal."

When your world is crashing in and your heart feels like it will explode, does it really help to think, "well, at least God knew I could handle it or I wouldn't be going through this?"

If you unpack what's being said, it's not at all comforting and I don't really think it's accurate.

As my friend Pam said "If God never gives us more than we can handle, why would we need His Presence and His help? Our faith, like muscles never given a workout, would become atrophied."

But it's not just the "more than we can handle" part that I take issue with.

Do you believe a loving and gracious God sits on His throne deciding which hardship to bestow on us, only to watch us struggle under its weight?

That's not the God I know.

When these Job-sized trials - or any problem for that matter - hit, trying to handle them under our own power is futile. And unbiblical.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

And Psalm 55:22 instructs "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."

But I would also argue those trials aren't delivered directly from the hand of God. He hasn't "given" us the difficulties.

We live in an imperfect, fallen world. We may belong to God but that doesn't stop the father of lies from trying his best to trip us up, make us miserable, and get us to take our eyes off the One can get us through the storm.

John 16:33 reminds us "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

That's why I so appreciate the perspective twist in the pictured quote.

God helps us handle what we've been given.

It's not our own gritted teeth, pull ourselves up by the boot straps, inner strength and dogged determination that allows us to handle the difficult times with inexplicable peace.

It is God being true to His promise to never leave or forsake us, to walk with us each step of the way. Psalm 46:1-3 puts it this way "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."

As I return to work after a 3 month absence due to a breast cancer diagnosis, I can tell you that if I believed for an instant that God gave me cancer because He knew I could handle it, I'd be rethinking our relationship.

With the same amount of certainty, I can assure you that the only way I was able to get through hearing the diagnosis, go through the litany of tests, an outpatient and inpatient surgery and weeks of grueling recovery is because He was there beside me, offering a refuge to run to when the fears threatened to overtake me and the tears wouldn't stop; when the pain was crushing and sleep wouldn't come; when I saw the scars for the first time and my patience was severely tested by a drain that was with me 6 weeks longer than the "norm."

His grace and mercy, love and peace were what made handling it all possible.

So my friend, the next time a hardship comes your way, remember that God isn't standing by at a distance watching to see if you can handle it, He's in the midst of it all, waiting for your to put your faith and trust in Him so He can help you through it.

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