Most of us have heard this at least once, and it goes something like this: We’re going through a difficult season and someone well meaning tells us, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and, at first, it seems comforting. The idea that we won’t receive overbearing circumstances sounds like a wonderful statement to cling to. But, what happens when we are stuck in a season that seems too much to bear? I have to say, I don’t think the above statement is entirely true and it’s no longer comforting because there is a far better truth for us. If you want to know what I mean, keep reading.
What happens when we are stuck in a season that seems like it’s too much to bear?
Last year was one of the toughest seasons I’ve gone through. I would like to believe that I can do it all, and nothing is impossible with a strong-willed heart and your chin held up high. Needless to say, my perspective changed. Whether it was anxiety, a dream falling through, unmet expectations, or the loss of a loved one, nothing in my head or my heart said, “You’ve got this”. It was much more than I could handle. l was left with hard questions such as, “God, I thought I heard your voice?” and, “How could you let this happen to me?”. The result was pent up anger and no immediate answers. I was hurting. However, God worked through this situation by addressing the question of, “Will I get more than I can handle?”.
Instead of posing this question we should be searching our hearts and asking these in response: 1) Where do I place my hope? 2) Where am I cultivating my strength?
Our hope is not in good circumstances nor in a perfect life. Our hope, as stated in Hebrews 6:19, is “a steadfast anchor of the soul that enters into the inner place behind the curtain”. In the Old Testament, God dwelled with his people through the means of the tabernacle, the High Priest only being able to draw near to the presence of God once a year. When Jesus came, he anchored us into the Holy of Holies and, by this, we are able to draw near at any time to the very presence of God. Our hope is spelled out in the Gospel: Christ died and rose again, redeemed us and opened the way for us to draw near to God and be in a relationship with him. While we are still living in a sinful world that is full of suffering, our hope lies in what Christ accomplished at the cross.
We are living in the current reality that God is with us.
We also have a choice to make: take on the world in our own strength or in the power of Christ. The Apostle Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
We are left with two assurances: First, our hope is in Christ, not in the circumstances we see around us. Second, we’re not supposed to be able to handle life on our own, we are supposed to be living in the power of Christ because he is with us!
So this is how my story went: God challenged where I placed my hope. Was it in my own strength or in him? I could let bitterness towards circumstance and tragedy take hold, or to allow his grace to pour into all of my questions and all I couldn’t understand. It wasn’t an easy process, but it was worth it. When you allow for God’s grace to reign in your life…everything changes. Life’s circumstances do not speak for the hope I have, Christ does. I don’t want to claim that I can work through life on my own, I want to live a life of hope and experience the grace of God. I don’t want to be falsely comforted in thinking I can do it all, instead I want to be assured that Christ already has.
Yes, you will get more than you can handle, but you will never get more than God can handle. We have the power of Christ to help us in our weakness and the assurance of steadfast hope. When life gets tough, we don’t always get answers. But, Christ did not die for us to fight through life on our own. In our own strength we cannot possibly take on the world, but Christ has certainly overcome it.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Want to spend some time learning how to put your hope in Christ instead of your life circumstances? Join us for a Disciple Training School!