Seriously? What jagoff with a cushy life made that crap up? I’ve heard that a few times lately and it’s just so silly. It’s not in The Bible (I can wait if you wanna look it up.) But if you know how to look stuff up in the good book you probably knew already that it doesn’t say that. Also? It doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil – it says it is THE LOVE OF money is A root of all kinds of evil. And, while we’re clearing stuff up, it also does not say “hate the sin, love the sinner.” So quit saying those things – they’re dumb.
Well, anyway, who came up with this whole “as much as you can handle” stuff? There is a verse in 1st Corinthians that talks about us not being tempted beyond our ability, but that’s not about handling suffering – it’s about us being responsible for our sin. But maybe that’s where this “handling it” business originated – a poor interpretation.
Because from where I’m standing, it’s just not consistent with God’s character to, like, make us handle weighty things with will power, gumption and pulling ourselves up by our boot straps. Grin and bear it. Nose to the grindstone. Nope. I don’t see that. Besides, who are these people who are “handling it” when a child dies, cancer strikes and tsunamis wipe out entire villages? No one is handling that! Those are devastating. Plain and simple. And I don’t see God with His holy arms crossed saying “Now, I am only giving you the exact amount you can handle, and I expect you to do it or there will be locusts and frogs and boils and such!” What I do see, in the scriptures and in my life is a God who mysteriously allows all kinds of troubles to come our way, and offers to not necessarily rescue us immediately from all harm, but to be with us in our suffering. To never abandon us. To ultimately in the present and the future, work the evil in the world for our GOOD.
As far as us handling it…I don’t think that’s what God is looking for. He’s not walking around with a clipboard giving us points for acting like we’re not in pain, not scared, not overwhelmed. What good does that do anyone?
What I do think God is looking for is our honesty. Our authentic, unmasked selves, broken, exhausted, spent, overrun and empty coming to Him for comfort, healing and guidance. I know I’ve dragged myself into His presence with nothing but fear and discouragement in my heart more than a few times recently. And The King has restored me each time. I know He doesn’t mind that at times I’m seriously mad and tired and sick of cancer. Sick of nausea and neuropathy. Sick of Mort the Port getting jabbed all the time. Sick of a mile run seeming impossible. Sick of fearing cold weather. Sick of copays and pills and not being able to care for my family at my best.
In times such as this, what’s happening? I’m unraveling. I’m breaking under immense pressure and as a result, I stop thinking correctly or clearly. Pain and fear paralyze us and send us into irrational thinking patterns. What we know to be true (that God is good and in control) fades and all kinds of twisted ideas wreck our minds.
So we have to run to God. Because He can restore us to right thinking.
So, there, in God’s presence, as I let it all out – somehow, He meets me there, in my weakness. In my brokenness. It’s not some bursting sunlight with an angel choir or anything. Usually it’s a reminder of something I know to be true. That I’m loved beyond my imagination’s capacity to conjure. That God is eternal and He knows best. That there is significant purpose in my suffering. That He is working ALL things for my good.
So while it may look like it, I’m not always “handling” it – I’m going through it honestly and relying on Him for restoration to right thinking when it all starts falling apart.
When you start to fall apart, don’t muster up more willpower. Don’t grit your teeth and “stay strong.” Just take it to God, and let Him restore your right thinking and “renew a right spirit within you.”