Friday, March 20, 2015

God doesn't give us more than we can handle and other lies we've been told....

God doesn't give us more than we can handle....

I can still hear the gut-wrenching screams like it was yesterday.... Only it wasn't. It was about 20 years ago...There were three little adorable girls who attended the Christian school I taught at, two of them were in my classes.  I don't know if the screams are real or added after the fact to the awful memory in my mind, but I do remember the facts:  the mother of those beautiful little girls was thrown from her vehicle and killed.  The way I remember it, the girls found out at school.  Do you think those girls could "handle" losing their mom when they were in high school, in junior high, in elementary school?  Do you think their dad could "handle" instantly becoming the single-father of three motherless girls? Do you think God "gave" that to them? I don't.

Yesterday, John went to an appointment with his neurosurgeon. As of today, he is out of work (without pay) for two weeks while his doctors scramble to find a solution for his constant and SEVERE pain.  A solution that will allow him to continue functioning... A solution that will allow him to continue working.... A solution that will allow him to continue living....Do you think he can "handle" waking up every morning in pain?  Do you think we can "handle" watching him go through it?  Do you think God "gave" this to him?  I don't.

Ironically yesterday another one of my former students posted this blog that GREATLY resonated with me.  See that comment, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" has always galled me.  I knew what scripture it was based upon long before I read that blog (I Corinthians 10:13), but that blogger did a GREAT job of debunking the myth of that concept being in the Bible.  My personal grievances with that platitude are different. So I'd like to add my "addendum" to that post.

First and foremost, I do not believe that God "gives us" bad things.  I have scripture to support my belief:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

God gives GOOD things.... not bad.  But Jami, you might say, the Bible says that God corrects us when we are wrong.  True. But that is not God GIVING us bad things.  That is us reaping the natural consequences of our actions.  But Jami, you might say, the Bible also says that Job was tested. True. SATAN tested Job. God didn't.

See my first problem with the statement that God won't give us more than we can handle is that I do not believe that God is the one who took that mother from her little girls.  I don't believe that God is the one who has John in such a precarious position, I believe that it is God's desire that we walk in perfect obedience to Him with no negative consequences.  I believe it is God's desire that this earth be redeemed from the grip of the sin that has held it captive since Eve bit the apple.  I believe that God is good. Period. End of sentence, No disclaimer. No room for bad.

My other bone is with this "handle" concept.  If the trials we faced, if the tests we went through were always within our capacity to "handle" them how would any growth take place?  where would trust in God fit in?

Growth:  As a cheer coach, I am not only well versed in the importance of conditioning, I understand the science behind it.  When we train we must push our muscles to the point they are broken down a bit so they can be built up stronger.  We must give our muscles more than they can "handle" in order for them to be strengthened. It is true in strength training, in flexibility training, even in cardio.  We must push ourselves to the edge of our current capability in order to see improvement in our fitness level.  Same-same here. If we are not pushed to the edge of our ability to "handle" things on our own, how would our faith ever grow?

Trust:  Finally trust.... just trust.  If we can "handle" all the things we go through, then why in the world would we even need to trust God.  In truth, I don't even want to live in a world where my God fits into the tiny box left because I can "handle" everything I'm going through on my own.  If I am gut-level honest, I have to admit that as scary as this faith world is.... as terrified I am of the future right now.... I ADORE living in a world where my GREAT BIG God has so much room to move, to amaze, to heal, to fix.... I like serving a BIG God.  I like having a TON of room in my life for him to show up.

So once again it looks like I'm back to blogging through a mess of feelings.  I can't promise it will be pretty, I can't promise that it will be fun, but I do know that it will be honest, real, as bare-naked in truth as I can get.  If you'd like, walk along with me.  You might learn something (even if it is only, "Gosh I am SO glad I am not her.")

God bless!
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