Today I'm praying for/about:

Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again

- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him

- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school

- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships

- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld

- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.

Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Myth of More Than We Can Handle

I heard a song lyric the other day that got me pondering the cliché "God never gives you more than you can handle"... and it struck me what a whopper of a lie that statement is.

God certainly gives us more than we can handle and He does so quite often (At least for me!).  He doesn't want us to handle everything on our own; He wants us to need Him!  What need would we have of a Savior if we were entirely self-sufficient?  What need would we have of faith if humans truly had the capacity to get through every trial as an island??

None.  None what so ever.  Perhaps we have learned to leave off the possible remainder of the statement:  "God never gives you more than you can handle with Him." and, in so doing, what damage have we done ourselves spiritually?  How clever of the enemy to convince us, so sneakily, that if we aren't "handling it" in a manner we consider "well", then perhaps we are broken, faithless, wrong...

I remember a well-meaning piece of advice my mother gave me once, long ago, afflicted with a broken heart after her divorce from my dad and still without the presence of the Holy Spirit.  She told me "Never become dependent on a man.  Ever."

This bit of advice, colored by the pain she was enduring at the time, then afflicted my own life for quite some time.  I worked so hard for so long to be strong and not need my husband.  I felt like there was something wrong with me when I finally, one day, admitted to her, that while I could survive without my husband, I could not live without him.  Her emphatic apology for telling me that, was, I think, the first time she ever told me she was sorry.  It was a beautiful moment of growth for us both.  (Please note: I have such high regard and love for my mom and this illustration is not meant in any way to paint her as anything less than precious to me but rather to show something her and I both went through together for good)

I share that to point out that in the same way, I believe, at least for me, the statement "God never gives us more than we can handle" has afflicted my relationship with God.  Not that I have consciously thought that I oughtn't need my faith to get through trials but that there has been a quiet, underlying feeling at times along those lines.  I have noticed it most at times when, in the middle of a trial, I feel a sort of humiliation when I finally break to the point of crying out to God that I need my Savior to carry me through.  When I finally discover that I need to "cast all my cares on Him", why do I feel like I've failed somehow?  Especially when there are so many places in God's word where He makes us promises that nullify that very thought.  Here are just a few that I've immediately thought of:

If we could do it all ourselves, why would He promise not to leave nor forsake us? (Deuteronomy 31:6,  Hebrews 13:5)

If we were meant to be our own little gods, then why would He call us to cast all our cares on Him? (1 Peter 5:7)

Why would He commit to be with us until the end of the age? (Matthew 28:20)

If we were meant to draw on our own resources and strength then it would not depend on His presence. (Joshua 1:9)

If we were autonomous then He would not catch every tear and account for every step.  (Psalm 56:8)

Our God and Savior knows us so well, and so intimately... counted the hairs on our heads, every step we take, every breath, every smile, every furrowed brow...  And, He does, indeed, give us more than we can handle.  Not because He is vindictive, not because He is sadistic, not because He is cruel, but because He cares so deeply for us that He allows us to realize daily how we need Him.  In addition, He is faithful in everything to show us that when we need Him He will come through.

This is where we need to remember that the ways He comes through may not be when, how, or where we anticipate; His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts...  We will never be able to figure Him out, define Him, or fit Him in the finite box of our mind.  He is not our genie in a bottle or our Santa Claus.  If He fit our expectations or definitions then God would not be God, but, rather a contrivance of our individual imaginations, different for each one of us and, therefore, unreliable and completely contrary to who His word tells us He is.  Instead, He simply is.  He is constant, He is unchanging, He is the same God, with the same promises, the same expectations, the same purposes, and the same love, that He has been since He uttered being into being.

He... IS.

And, thus, this is why we need Him.  Not because we have failed, not because we are wrong, but because that is where our relationship with Him will grow.  It is where we will experience His love for us, where our love for Him will blossom, and where His glory will abound in the victories He attains for us, with us, and in us.

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