No, He Wouldn’t
I am not sure when I first heard this encouragement: God will never give you more than you can bear. He will give you only what you can handle.
In the early years of my walk with Jesus, I found these words comforting especially in times when it seems like I couldn’t really go on anymore. I even began dispensing the same pep talk to friends who go through tough times.
But when I lost my mama, it was more than I or my siblings could handle. Not long after that, a close uncle (my mom’s brother) was shot dead. Then my papa passed away three days after my wedding. A few months later another close uncle lost both his arms in a freak accident. The same words of encouragement that meant so much to me before held no strength over what my family went through in the last few years.
How could He allow this to happen? It didn’t make sense to me. I thought to myself: Didn’t they say God will not give me more than I can handle? With all that had happened, I think I had gone pass my limit of what I can endure and carry on my own.
It made me think not only of myself but of others who are probably in tougher circumstances than I am in. I mean, how do I tell a mother who lost a child that God will never give her more than she can handle? Or a husband who has to bury his wife and kids? Or a child who lost both his parents?
How can I reconcile these crushing, painful examples of real-life scenarios to one of our all-time favorite statements of reassurance?
Will God really not give us more than we can bear?
For a while, I carried on believing that He wouldn’t. I pretended to be strong and able to keep going. But the pretense was hard to keep up with; my weakness was leaking out in every part of my being. I was barely hanging on. I was running on fumes as I continued to dance the rhythm of my front.
Yes, He Would
I finally found the courage to admit: I believe that He does give us more than we can bear. I believe He allows us to experience overwhelming pain that could possibly wreck us and empty us. He allows us to go through crushing defeats that will shake our worlds to the very core stripping us of our comforts and shallow desires.
I believe God gives us more that we can bear because if we can take everything that comes our way on our own, then we don’t really need Him. If we can bear every burden that we experience, then it would be unnecessary for us to call on Him for help, for strength, for courage.
I know because I went through some messy situations in my life that brought me to my knees and emptied me to a point where I couldn’t cry anymore because it was just too much. The pain was too massive to bear; it was like stuck in my heart and my throat.
There was no releasing it except through Jesus. It was in those moments that nothing else mattered but my relationship with Him.
But does this mean that God is cruel for allowing terrible things to happen to us? No, it doesn’t.
In His infinite wisdom, He allows pain to enter our lives to save us probably even from ourselves. You must be thinking: But how can pain save us? Isn’t pain destructive to us?
If truth be told, I think pain is good for us. No, I am not saying I like it — far from it. Pain is a lousy companion but a competent teacher. It helps us see clearly and go back to what we truly need. Pain, as I have mentioned in a previous post, lets us know that something is wrong.
I once saw a movie with a veteran guy who lost his ability to feel in the lower half of his body. In a particular scene, a high school kid volunteering in the hospital was helping this guy get cleaned. This kid said that sometimes he wished that he didn’t feel the pain when he is training for football. The veteran guy answered, “No, you don’t. You don’t wish to not feel pain.”
I think that’s the part we almost always miss. We want to not feel pain believing that this is best for us. But pain is not our enemy. Pain actually helps us live life better. Pain can steer us into the right direction.
I am not making light of the difficult things many of us deal with. Believe me, there have been many times in my life I wished I didn’t have to suffer. Yet I have to say that in God’s wisdom, which we can trust and find comfort in, He has let them happen for a purpose. Some of which we may never know in our lifetime here while others may be revealed in time to come. But we can be unquestionably sure that He knows and wants what’s best for us.
I am not sure what to say to someone who is going through a horrible experience of loss or betrayal. I have been there myself, yet many times I am at a loss for words in trying to help others cope.
What I did learn though is that sometimes not saying anything and just being there for them might be what they want and need the most. Not our words of comfort or prescribed ‘Jesus’ advice but a shoulder to cry on, a heart open to listen to their struggles, and arms ready to embrace them.
Just be there for them, love them, pray for them. By doing that we take off the pressure from ourselves and leave it on Jesus’ hands. Let them feel His presence through you and allow the Holy Spirit to engulf them with His strength and love. I have yet to practice more of this myself as I encounter people in challenging plights.
I can’t explain every possible evil that’s happening in the world right now. But this I know: Our God’s heart is good. He only desires for us to become the best version of ourselves — the one He planned for us to be.
© 2015 Kezia Lewis. All Rights Reserved.