Tag Archive: sadness


“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”

That is a common belief, a common saying; you hear it in sermons, loved ones repeat it, pictures quote it …and in times of struggle; a wonderful promise and encouragement.

But I don’t know that I necessarily believe it.

Many people refer to 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say God won’t give us anything we can’t handle.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

But that is clearly referring to temptation.  Referring to those times when sin entices us to make a choice; either to give in to it or turn from it.  God will always provide a way out of sin, but not always out of the storms and trials He allows in our life.

The Bible tells us that we will struggle, and be pushed to our breaking point.

For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”   2 Corinthians 1:8b-9

Sometimes trials are allowed because we need to learn or change something.  But sometimes they are solely for God‘s purpose and glory.  His strength is seen more clearly when we are unable to control things; when we are broken, weak, desperate and “have no hope,” when we have nowhere else to turn, but to the One who is hope.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. “   2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Job suffered greatly;

Cattle, crops, and children were taken from him.

“The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword…The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them…The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword…  sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead…”   Job 1:14-19

Painful boils over his entire body.

“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.”   Job 2:7-8

Paul suffered greatly;

He was beaten and imprisoned.

“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.”   Acts 16:22-23

He was faced with incredible danger.

“Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”    2 Corinthians 11:25-27

So many believers suffered extreme hardships and were often fearful of death.  They had been tested so severely; they were so broken, so beaten, and they felt they couldn’t go on.  Obviously they did, so I suppose they weren’t given more than they could handle, because they weren’t dead…

My heart aches for a dear friend of mine facing some heavy burdens in her life right now.  She has given her life to and wants to glorify God, and has taken some absolutely amazing strides in her walk with Christ.  It is astounding to see how much she has changed from a woman who wanted to control everything and fought to do so, to a woman willing to give that control over to a loving and faithful God.

But my friend is broken.

She is pleading and begging God to take this burden from her, and I echo her sorrowful song.

I see the confusion and desperation in her tear filled eyes.  I see it in her downcast face.  I see the weight of it in her burden laden shoulders.  I hear it in her mournful prayer to our great God…

But as I watch her, I see a quiet strength within her.  As I see her questioning and at wit’s end, I also see arms reaching out, asking her Father to pick her up and comfort her; fists un-clenched and open, offering Him her heart, her life, her burdens…

I see sad, despairing eyes lifted up toward the heavens.

I see a woman begging for answers, lying in a heap of despair, desperately trying to hear God’s voice and reaching out to touch the corner, just the hem of Jesus’ garment.  (Mark 5:30-33)

 

Does God give us more than we can handle?  Absolutely.  When there is nothing left of us and we are at rock bottom, we have no other choice but to look up.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”   James 1:12

“but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”   2 Corinthians 6:4-10

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Sometimes bad things happen.

The Bible says:  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28

Which isn’t a lot of comfort for those going through the difficult time, I’m sure.  How can a terminal illness, the loss of a parent or a child, the loss of a job, all possibly be good?!

We, as sinful creatures, can’t see the big picture.  We can’t see God’s plan and therefore can’t see the outcome of this tragedy.

“then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”   Ecclesiastes 8:17

About a year ago, the daughter of a woman I work with was pregnant with twins.  They knew fairly early on in the pregnancy that one of the babies was healthy and developing well, while the other was not.  Both babies were alive, Mom could feel them both in her belly, but she and Dad knew that within moments of giving birth, the most joyous of occasions, they would be planning the future for one and a funeral for the other.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”   Psalm 139:13-16

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Zoe and Jude were born, Zoe weighed around six pounds and Jude around four.  Both were beautiful babies and on the outside looked perfect, but baby Jude was unable to breathe on his own and within minutes Mom and Dad watched in horror as he gasped for his last breath.

“Why?”  They asked.

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”   Ecclesiastes 11:5

At home, Zoe and Mom are doing well although she struggles with the loss of Jude of course, but has absolutely taken to being a mom and loves it.

“Why?”  They still ask… but Grandma, the woman I work with, has been given insight and can see the blessing through this tragedy;

  • Had Jude died in the womb, it could have caused severe complications both to Zoe and Mom
  • They were all allowed time with Jude alive, albeit a short amount, but they were able to hold him and to pour their love into those moments they were blessed with him.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ To him be glory forever. Amen.”   Romans 11:33-34,36b

About 20 years ago now, God called Jax’s mom home after her battle with cancer.  She had two daughters married with families of their own, Jax was in college, and her youngest daughter was in middle school.

I’m sure none of them thought it was a good thing to lose their mother, but through it God has been glorified;

  • Her sisters came to know Christ after seeing the peace God had given her family through this tragedy
  • Her children are able to empathize with and minister to others so young dealing with the loss of a parent
  • Jax returned home to be with his dad, now that he was alone, therefore Jax and I met
  • I came to know Christ after meeting Jax, as well as countless others since… including our own children

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”   Romans 5:3-5

We will never know God’s plans this side of heaven, but we do know that all things happen for the good of His Kingdom, for His glory, and to draw us into a closer relationship with Him.

One day a rabbi stood on a hill overlooking a certain city.
The rabbi watched in horror as a band of Cossacks on horseback
suddenly attacked the town, killing innocent men, women, and children.
Some of the slaughtered were his own disciples.
Looking up to heaven, the rabbi exclaimed: “Oh, if only I were God.”
An astonished student, standing nearby, asked
“But, Master,  if you were God, what would you do differently?”
The rabbi replied:  “If I were God I would do nothing differently.
If I were God, I would understand.”

~ As told by Joanna Laufer and Kenneth S. Lewis in Inspired (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 5.

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