Written by: Mandy Hill
“No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
(1 Corinthians 10:13)
There have been times in my life when I felt like I was drowning in the testing of my faith. There have been times when it has felt as though every fibre of my existence was turned upside down just waiting for me to trust; to fully embrace the sobering truth that I am absolutely incapable of handling anything in my own strength.
Let me share a particular time in my life when I most felt the stability of my life crumbling down around me. It was December 2009 when our baby girl joined our family about two full months earlier than she was expected to. This undoubtedly caused our sense of stability in life to be shaken down quite a bit. The struggles and anxieties that went along with her prematurity were huge, however, they were not the only burdens we were juggling during those upside-down months. In addition to Sophia’s issues, we discovered the need for me to have my gallbladder removed via surgery after a very unpleasant attack one cold January morning. Also, my husband Nathan began experiencing high levels of anxiety and heart issues (arrhythmia), Both my husband and I were summoned for jury duty, and our 13 month old son, Ben had contracted RSV (a serious respiratory virus in children). Our circumstances were overwhelming, to say the least.
I consider myself to be a fairly strong person. I have encountered many circumstances throughout my life and have trusted The Lord to see me through; as He always has. I would be incredibly naive to assume I could handle any of these circumstances on my own; I was simply not created to do so. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
I do, however, know a God that can and does carry our burdens for us. As tempting as it is to reason our own abilities in ‘handling’ some of life’s situations and circumstances, God is ultimately the one who is doing all the handing; it is by no means our own work.
“God will never give you more than you can handle.” These are words that are meant for encouragement, but can often cause discouragement instead. Even worse, this phrase can tempt us to ignore our suffering and pretend it’s not there. It can lead us to believe the lie that we can handle our own sufferings.
Rather than focus on your sufferings, my friend, may I encourage you to embrace the way the Lord is carrying you through these hard times? Release the weight of your sufferings and rejoice in the immeasurable love that our Heavenly Father has for you. Lean into His strength and let His joy outweigh the heaviness of your circumstances. He cares for you more deeply than you could ever imagine (Romans 8:37-39) and wants you to rest in His abundant peace.
Father God, thank You for Your strength, mercy, peace and immeasurable love. I pray that we will learn to focus our energies on these things when life seems to be flipped upside down, rather than dwelling on the heaviness of our sufferings. Thank You for Your abundance of grace as we journey closer to You. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.