I’m not sure that anyone has directly told me that yet, but be ready if you do because I will have some gracious though firm words for you 🙂. I thought of that phrase that is often thrown around the first week we found out about Sophie’s condition and couldn’t help but think, actually, yes, God does give us more than we can handle because I definitely CANNOT handle this. You see, inherent in that statement is this idea of self-sufficiency and independence… God won’t give you more than YOU can handle. It may sound like just semantics (Lindsey, let’s not pick a part every word you may be saying), but I think at the core it shows what is fed into our culture… this “I can accomplish and handle anything”, “I am not weak”, “I have what it takes” mentality. Really? You do? Do superman and superwoman really exist? I’d like to meet you. Because I am brutally aware of my weakness right now, my inability to cope alone with the path that God has allowed Kevin and I to walk. I think if we are honest, we would recognize and acknowledge that there are some things that are beyond our ability to walk through, some things that are just too much. But, we don’t live in a culture that encourages that kind of thinking. And that kind of thinking permeates not just the non-christian culture but the christian culture as well. It is not Biblical. It is not true. We cannot do this life on our own, nor were we created to. Jesus says in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from you can do nothing.” Really? Nothing? I mean, I can think of a lot of things I can do on my own (or at least am under the illusion that I can do on my own!) But Jesus says “apart from me YOU can do NOTHING”. Perhaps, its situations like what I find myself in now where I am brutally aware of how true that statement is. It is true in every aspect of my life but I certainly don’t feel that until my world is rocked in ways where there is absolutely no way for me to control it and I’m forced to realize I was never in control to begin with. Perhaps we should be rewording that christian catch phrase to “God won’t give you more than HE can handle.” That would be more accurate. In the book of Joshua, God tells Joshua over and over… “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. Joshua’s strength and courageous is not based on the fact that he picked up his bootstraps (or whatever they wore back then), set his sight on courage and strength and then was this mighty warrior. No. His strength and courage was to be found in the fact that the Lord, His God was with Him wherever He went.
Think of it like a laptop computer. That computer has a massive amount of ability, and can run on battery power for… well let’s just say 10 minutes to 5 hours depending on your laptop. But its power does not come from within itself. Its power comes from the electricity that charges it when connected to an outlet. Isn’t it annoying when you need to work on something and your computer is about to die and you can’t find an outlet? (Ironically, my laptop is about to die right now 🙂 ) We know that that computer needs power, from the power source in order to run. Do we realize that we as people need power from a source outside of ourselves in order to live? As believers, we are connected to that power source, the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. When I put my trust in Jesus to pay for my sins many years ago and asked Jesus to come into my life, Jesus, the man did not come in but the promised Holy Spirit! “Jesus said, ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth.’” John 14:16, 17. Ephesians 1:13 says “In him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were SEALED with the promised Holy Spirit” He is the power that is at work within the life of a believer. He is the one who is with us forever. He is the reason I can be strong and courageous, because He is with me. I have no courage and strength of my own, and if you see courage and strength in me or Kevin, it is coming from the Holy Spirit… Praise the Lord! People may say or think “geez, give yourself some credit 🙂”… but isn’t that our western mindset speaking? The only way for me to live and walk this Christian life is to recognize that I cannot… but He can. Galatians 5:16, 25 says “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature… Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22, 23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” That is the fruit I want to see produced in and through my life in this season and in any other that the Lord asks me to walk through hard or easy. And it is only produced through a life dependent on God’s abundant resources and not our own, dependent and surrendered to the Holy Spirits work in our lives. It doesn’t mean that I sit around and do nothing, it does mean that I press into Jesus acknowledging constantly my inability and His ability…asking Him to take control of my life when I find I am trying to control it and trusting that He will lead me each step of the way. This is the Spirit-filled life. And I am learning it in profoundly new ways as my world seems so obviously out of my control. I am realizing how often I can be like a laptop running on battery power, under the illusion that I can do it myself… until something happens and I realize “my” power has run out, “my” power ALWAYS runs out. I am recognizing the things I hold onto that I don’t even realize I hold onto and the Lord is leading me to new places of surrender and trust in His ability to walk me through this season. So, I am thankful that the Lord does give me more than I can handle so that I realize that I cannot handle this life on my own and moves me to turn to Him and let Him and His power work through me, His power that NEVER runs dry. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of LIVING WATER will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit.” John 7:37, 38
God won’t give you more than HE can handle… and there is nothing that we are walking through, will walk through that HE can’t handle. Isn’t that the most freeing truth?