More Than We Can Handle
From My Notes by Pastor Ron Campbell
I have often been told “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” and “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” I have faced devastation more than once in my life and let me tell you, it hasn’t killed me and it did make me stronger. How much is someone expected to take before they give in, give up? I guess it depends on the individual.
Let’s be honest for a minute. Sometimes we get more than we can handle. Sometimes it’s just…TOO…MUCH. That’s where the church comes in. That’s where community comes in, if we can put our pride away long enough to let people share our sorrow. And sharing it isn’t going to make it go away, it’s just going to mean we don’t have to suffer alone. And make no mistake, God is not sitting back enjoying our suffering. He just reminds us that He knows what suffering is…maybe even better than we do.
But when we think that God will never give us more than we can handle…and then we go through times that are definitely…unquestionably…more than we can handle…well, it’s perfectly natural to wonder about this God of ours? Was He lying? Are we not good enough for Him? Are we letting Him down by admitting that THIS is too much?? Or, hey, is He even really there at all? Here’s a thought I know for a fact. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes it is loss after loss after loss. Every loss hurts. And sometimes there are too many. And sometimes just one is too much. We lose our jobs…our homes…our friends…our marriages…our minds…our children. Just thinking of those losses brings me incredible sadness, for I know someone who has lost each, sometimes even more than one. But there is a loss greater than any of these, the loss of faith. Watching a friend lose that…or feeling your own slip away…is the last thing any of us want to happen.
For now, for today, can we just all admit this one thing? Sometimes, some people will have more than they can handle. In those times, God has not lied. And He has not deserted us. He is there. And He will still be there when things start to get better, which they inevitably do. In the meantime, He has given us a few things to help.
He has given us Psalms of lament. Read them. Read them aloud. Scream them if you want to. God’s children have been hurting for a very long time. And God has been there before, during, and after the hurt.
He has given us the church. There are people to lean on…people to cry with…people to help you do things that you just don’t have the strength or will to do…people who share our faith and can give us a little of their own when ours wanes. Only pride keeps us from allowing them to help. Only the feeling that this is my pain and nobody else’s. God has put us in community for a reason.
He has given us His Spirit. It’s hard to be quiet in pain. But if we can be still for just a bit, we may hear the voice of God’s Spirit, giving us assurance that it will get better…and maybe even ideas of what to do in the meantime.
If you are going through a time when you have more than you can handle, I have some advice. Remember how many people love you and it whatever it is, will get better.
Summon up something deep inside yourself and go find someone to help. With anything. Just do something that will get you out of yourself for a while.
God will never allow us to be tempted more than we can handle and He will always provide a way of escape. And in light of this truth that temptation is never too strong and that there is always a way out.