"with all your strength"
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" ~