“God never gives us more than we can bear!” For some reason, I’ve been hearing that a lot lately, have you?
I don’t know about you, but in my experience, it has been the opposite! God regularly gives me more than I can bear…and I’ll tell you what I think is the reason.
As I now like to say, “I’m a tough nut to crack.” I’m a pretty strong personality! So for a lot of my Christian life, I’ve believed that it’s my strength and know-how and abilities and wisdom, coupled with the blessing and help from Above, that will get the job done…successfully…even in the spiritual realm. I’ve eaten over and over again from the “Tree of knowledge of Good & Evil” thinking that was God’s will and way!
But now I know differently. His way is His strength in my weakness! Not His help in my weakness! HIM doing it and being it!
Little by little I have been learning this, not just through Scripture, but through life experience. And the crowning lesson in it all wasn’t my own mysterious anaphylactic reactions that lasted years, not the sudden deaths or disabilities of our parents within an eight-month period, not the everyday pressures of mothering, homeschooling, and Bible study teaching. No! It was the cancer of my beloved son and the health crisis of my darling daughter all within months of each other that truly brought me to the end of thinking I had anything to add to life.
When someone marveled at how we made it through, I replied, “The Lord carried us!”
And so little by little over the years, the truth of what I have been seeing in the Word has come to life:
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20 NLT
It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:5-6a NLT
But we have this treasure [the indwelling Christ] in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. 2 Cor 4:7-12 NASB
But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. 1 Cor 15:10 NLT
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NLT
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:8-10 NLT
Even the following verse, which comes pretty close to our cliche, still says to me that it’s not about my strength with His help. The “way of escape” is HIM…otherwise I could never endure it:
No temptation [trial, testing] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tried, tested] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [trial, testing] will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Cor 10:13 NLT
What about you, dear friend?
Just when you start feeling like you have the parenting thing tied up, has a new phase begun that knocks you for a loop?
After doing all the healthy stuff for your family, even more than what others do for themselves and their kids…Bam! Does a serious diagnosis enter your lives?
Or what about just the everyday stuff — frustrations, noise, dirty diapers, crying, calling for mama? Pressures from schedules, deadlines? Difficult relationships…irregular people in your life?
Or what about your own human weakness, lack, frailness, handicaps? Do you continually fall into the trap of thinking you can handle it with some help from God?
Oh really? How has that been working for you?
O suffering child of God, turn from your own will and your own way and surrender to HIM, your Way of Escape, the One who will carry you through, so that you can endure even the unendurable, the unthinkable:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NLT
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on A Branch in the Vine