Last Monday as my husband and I watched in horror the pieces of our home flying past our windows, carried by 100 mph derecho winds, I voiced out loud, “God protect us.” That’s all I could say. God protect us.
For over an hour the wind blew. Trees crashed to the ground. Cornstalks flattened in the field behind our home. Homes and farms and buildings became piles of rubble from these out-of-nowhere straight-line winds. Life for many changed in a matter of minutes. Power disappeared and so did hope. Still today, many of us in eastern Iowa are digging out, nine days later.
All this, on top of a worldwide pandemic. When school is to be starting for the year. When things were almost feeling a little back to normal. Almost.
Lately, though, I’ve thought of the statement many like to throw out in times like these, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I wonder where this thinking came from? Because it’s not in the Bible. I’ve looked. I’ve scoured. It’s not in there.
So, does God ever give us more than we can handle?
God didn’t cause this pandemic, no. Nor did He cause these mighty winds to blow last week. But, for some reason, beyond our understanding, He allowed them. And as of late, I’m feeling He’s giving me quite a bit more than I can handle. I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’ve seen it in my fellow man’s eyes. I’ve heard it in our neighbor’s voices. I witnessed it my good friend’s tears. We are weary from the stress and strains of this life. We want to yell at the top of our lungs to whomever is listening, “Enough is enough!!”
But, you know? It’s in times like these–when life is more than we can handle–that we often come to the end of ourselves. We have no strength left, no willpower, no stamina, no anything. We want someone to handle what we cannot. But, who?
God can handle what we cannot.
This reminds me of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians:
My brothers and sisters, we have to tell you that when we were in Asia the troubles we faced were nearly more than we could handle. The burdens we bore nearly crushed us. Our strength dwindled to nothing. For a while, we weren’t sure we would make it through the whole ordeal. We thought we would have to serve out our death sentences right then and there. As a result, we realized that we could no longer rely on ourselves and that we must trust solely in God, who possesses the power to raise the dead.2 Corinthians 1:8-9 VOICE
I get you, Paul. I’m with you. In all reality, many of us may wonder if we will “make it through the whole ordeal.”
The thing is, however, God does not want us to try to “make it through the whole ordeal” on our own. He doesn’t desire for us handle all of this by ourselves. (Even if we think we can.) What He wants is for us to trust Him with our circumstances. To let Him help us. To rely on Him and His strength. We can’t possibly keep going and going and going on our own. Thank God we don’t have to.
So, what if we let God handle it?
Something interesting happens when we let go of our striving to handle it all, and just let God do what only He can do. In our family we call this LG² (LG squared), meaning Let Go and Let God. It’s a reminder for us that when God gives us more than we can handle, we let Him handle it. Because when we let Him handle what we cannot, a peace washes over us. His strength replaces ours, and rest takes the place of our weariness.
Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest.Matthew 11:28-29 VOICE
I don’t know about you, but my soul could use some rest.
When God gives us more than we can handle, I pray we trust Him enough to let Him be God in our circumstances. He’ll bring good out of it. He will give us His strength. And He will give us rest. Amen.
Father God, I may not understand what’s happening in my life, and I may not like the circumstances I’m in, but I trust You. I give it all to You today, because I can’t handle it on my own. I believe You are good, and that You are bring good out of my situation. May You be glorified. In Jesus’ name. Amen.