This past week I was speaking with someone and they made the following statement; “Pastor, I know God won’t ever give me anything I can’t handle”. I have heard that statement spoken by many over the years, and I’m not sure there is a larger misunderstanding of scripture out there. Of course God will give you more than you can handle! It is recorded for us in John chapter 15 that Jesus Himself said that we can do nothing without Him. You and I? We can’t handle anything. Our hearts don’t beat, our lungs don’t draw in breath without His input. There is so much that we think we are doing autonomously that we are sorely mistaken about. Sometimes I think that if we had a better understanding of the fact we can’t handle anything without God, we wouldn’t have so much trouble when those issues and circumstances come along that really get our attention because they don’t go as expected.
Let me say it again…God will absolutely let things into your life that you have no ability to handle on your own. Why? To reiterate the all-important lesson that we need Him. God needs to straighten out the misconception that we are capable. Wrong…we need Him all day, every day, 24-7-365. So if God has to help us handle everything…and in fact He does…why do things go wrong for His people? Why doesn’t He just make sure we are always ok? Because that wouldn’t foster faith. I am convinced that God isn’t all that concerned with my comfort…but He is consumed with my conformity to His Son. Many of the ‘difficulties’ I experience are what teach me to be different than my nature would desire. Romans 8:28 and 29 speak directly to the fact that what I would deem ‘problems’ He uses for my good which is to make me more Christ like.
Additionally, it is exactly those times when I don’t know the outcome of a particularly difficult situation when trust in Him is being built. I have a saying that I use fairly often; “If trust was easy, we would be doing it wrong”. What do I mean by that? The Bible tells us we are to walk by faith and not by sight. In other words, we are to act as if we believe God is in control, regardless of what worldly wisdom would dictate in light of the circumstances. Frankly, that’s not easy. It is hard to distrust what experience may have taught us and instead place our trust in God, that He will use all things (especially the uncomfortable ones) to increase us. But we don’t get to have that understanding unless we prove it out through trust. Will it become more natural the more we do prove it out…of course…but in the moment trust is never easy or we aren’t doing it right.
I had a brother quote a well-known scripture today. Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 (NKJV) As a parent, the first part of that scripture brings forth a mental picture of a parent trying to get their wriggling, wiggling child to sit still for something that is for their good, though maybe not preferable to the child. As a child of the most-high God it makes me realize that sometimes I am that wriggling, wiggling child and I need to understand it’s not all about me…in fact very, very, little of it is about me. It’s all about Him. It’s all about who He is…and how reflective of Him I am. It’s all about trusting Him in all things and for all things, at all times.
This old world has offered much trouble lately that could tempt us to wriggle and wiggle a bit. What things have you been finding it easy to complain about, but difficult to trust for? If God is as I said consumed with your conformity to His Son, are you being pliable? Are you seeing the difficult circumstances as problems or opportunities to be more like Christ? We are encouraged by Christ Himself that though we can count on trouble in this world…we should take heart…because He has overcome the world! Let’s learn to be still and know that He is God…after all…it’s for our own good!