This week’s post was first published on KristenHogrefe.com. Take a look at her site for more encouraging posts, award-winning Christian fiction, and more!
“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve heard this saying all my life, always from well-meaning Christians.
But there have been plenty of times when I just couldn’t “handle.” After my grandmother passed away, I couldn’t handle the grief, and depression set in for two years. Later on, my body couldn’t handle what I was eating and the stress I was under, and I suffered with physical pain for several years. During those periods, hearing that God hadn’t actually given me more than I could handle felt disingenuous. What’s more, it added to my frustration and self-condemnation.
So let me give it to you straight: yes, God may give you more than you can handle.
You are human, after all, and human beings are fallible creatures. You will make mistakes. You may suffer from illness or grief. You may be called into a family role or ministry that is far more than you can do on your own. At some point, you’ll feel like you’re drowning.
But that doesn’t mean your “failing” at being a Christian.
In fact, that over-your-head feeling is all part of God’s plan to make you understand and accept your reliance on Him…
Like the Jews had to do in the wilderness
Like Noah had to do when he built a boat unlike any other
Like Jonah when he was sent somewhere he didn’t want to go
Like Paul when he shared the Gospel to the Gentiles for the first time.
The good news—no, the great news—is that you don’t walk through life alone. As a follower of Jesus, you have His ultimate protection over your life, and the Holy Spirit as your inner guide. Whenever you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, remember that God is in control. The journey may not be comfortable, and you may not end up where you wanted to go, but God is with you, and He has good plans for you. (See Jeremiah 29:11.)
I’m speaking from experience here. During my times of grief and illness, I relied on God completely. He was my Comforter, Protector, and Guide. And in the end, it was He who healed me and made me whole.
When you’re going through a rough patch, don’t rely on platitudes. Instead, claim powerful verses like these as your own, reading them out loud to encourage your spirit:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 11:29 NAS).
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NAS).
“We would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NAS).
“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NAS)
Platitudes may sound nice, but the Word of God is powerful. Let His Truth give you comfort and guidance in every season of life.
Have you ever needed a word of truth, only to receive an empty platitude? How did it make you feel? Does that experience encourage you to speak truth into the lives of your loved ones?