Pastor Adam continued in our series about things we hear and might assume are in scripture, but often are not. Also, sometimes we hear something close to correct, but not exactly right and it can skew our entire theology and understanding of God and our circumstances.
This week, Pastor Adam focused on a common cliche that is often attributed to scripture: “God never gives you more than you can handle.” The scriptural truth is God most certainly WILL allow things in your life that are more than you can handle. To be clear, He doesn’t cause such things, but it is abundantly clear from cover to cover in the Bible that God allows such situations. These can be circumstances we have put ourselves in, or perhaps they are the result of someone else’s actions. Other times God allows them for our own growth and development toward more holiness. Even Jesus suffered so much that he asked “the cup” to be taken from him. Pastor Adam also mentioned over the top stressful situations faced by Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David from scripture. Why would we think seasons of feeling completely overwhelmed by circumstances would never come our way?
In answering “why” God allows such hardships and overwhelming circumstances in our life journeys, Pastor Adam mentions two reasons: 1) God desires for us to depend on His presence. We are created to rely on God and His power in our life, and when things all go our way, we have a tendency to leave God behind and become more and more independent and confident in our own power and control; 2) God wants to help us experience His power.
INVITATION: There are most certainly people reading this Blog and devotion who are going through some very stressful and difficult situations right now. It might feel like more than you can handle. If you aren’t going through such a time now, you have experienced it in the past, or you will experience it in the future. This is not some scare tactic to make you behave a certain way, It is the truth we see in many characters and situations in scripture, and how our life journey here on earth plays out as well. No one escapes it regardless of how “perfect” their lives might look on the outside. However, our HOPE is in God – not our circumstances. Never let the presence of a storm in your life outshine the presence of God! Dig deeper with us this week:
MONDAY: I Cor. 10:13: This scripture is most likely where the ideology of “God will never give you more than you can handle” originally comes from. What is the difference between God not tempting you beyond what you can bear and God not giving you more than you can handle? As you consider the subtle differences in these statements, perhaps you might ask God to show you any other untruths you might believe in your life? How do these mistruths change your image of God? How do they change the image of yourself?
TUESDAY: Psalm 38:4-8: This psalmist is brutally honest about the pain of his loneliness. Friends seem to have forgotten him, or don’t know how to respond to his sickness. He fights feelings of deep depression – “even the light has gone from my eyes.” Yet he is also aware of the presence of the Lord who sees his hurt and hears his sighs. God is near to the lonely, hurting and the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18). How do you experience God in times of loneliness or depression? Do you feel the freedom to be brutally honest? God can handle it. How do you talk to God in desperate moments?
WEDNESDAY: Mark 14:32-38: Even Jesus felt overwhelmed and disappointed in his friends. How do you think these verses might help you the next time you are overwhelmed by a situation and stress seems to be overtaking you? What about your reliance on friends? Could you rely on them more than you rely on God?
THURSDAY: Psalm 145:18-19: Being at a place of “needing” God is a good place. Yes, it can be painful and challenging, but it is a good place. How do you feel about “needing” God in your life? Does it bring a sense of relief or does it make you feel uncomfortable? Talk with God about how you feel.
FRIDAY: 2 Cor. 12:8-10: The classical definition of humility offered by Teresa of Avila is to walk in the truth of who we are. This means accepting our weaknesses and our limitations as gifts of God as well as our strengths and talents. Given that definition, what does walking in the truth mean for you? How can you become more grateful for the way God has created you – in light of both strengths and weaknesses? Meditate and pray on these words and scriptures and let them give you the courage to fulfill your calling to be the you God has created – including all your strengths AND weaknesses.