Friday, June 28, 2013

Reaching the end, and then continuing

"with all your strength"
Deuteronomy 6:5

I had kind of a weird coincidence happen to me the other day.  I know some of you don't believe in coincidences, and I love that opinion; I just can't decide if I agree with it or not.

But it was something unusual that happened not once, but three times.  And if it was unusual and happened twice, that could be a coincidence.  Three times?  I'm not so sure....

It was three different people all going through something difficult in their lives, all of them long-term trials.  And I guess it must have been a full moon or something, because apparently they all hit the wall on the same day, and each of them said to me, "I can't do this anymore."

It's a hard thing to hear from someone you love.  It's a sentence of pain and desperation and it comes from a feeling of hopelessness, that the circumstance will never end. 

And in each case, I didn't know what to say.  When someone is unburdening themselves to me, I try very hard to avoid sharing from my vast store of wisdom, because if I give it all away, I won't have any left. 

Of course I kid.  But I do try to determine if they are coming to me for counsel, or simply a shoulder to cry on.  Because unwanted advice is, well, unwanted. 

But truthfully, I'm not really sure there's any easy response to that statement.  Please note that I said there's no easy response. 

There is a response, but people don't like to hear it.  At least, I don't. 

In each case, when my loved one said, "I can't do this anymore," what I wanted was to gently reply, "Yes, you can."

Because they can.  I know they can. 

And what's worse ~ I know they'll have to.

You see, God doesn't care when we think we've reached our limit.  I don't mean that He doesn't care about us, although it can feel that way.  What I mean is that He's not interested in our opinion of how much we can take.  Because He knows we're wrong. 

I've made that statement to God.  Only a few times, I think.  But He ignored me.  It didn't end.  At least not then. 

And what did I think, really.... that He'd thunder down from heaven, "Oh, you're done?  Sorry; I lost track of what you were going through.  Hang on, I'll turn it down a little." ?  No, that's not really His style. 

Have you ever heard the expression, "He will never give you more than you can handle." ?  That's not exactly in the Bible, but 1 Corinthians 10:13 is close ~ "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able."  The key there is temptation, but I think it applies to these situations, because the temptation is faithlessness. 

So the truth is:  God will never tempt you to lose your faith, more than you can handle.  Which would then beg the question, "How much can I handle?"

And the answer is:  everything He gives you.  The struggle you have, is not too much for you, otherwise He would never have given it to you.  Proof?  Philippians 4:13 ~ "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

All things.  Anything He can handle, you can handle, in His strength. 

~ "Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid,
nor be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you 
wherever you go" ~
Joshua 1:9

No comments:

Post a Comment