Fall is upon us!
I love this time of year. It’s definitely my favorite season out of the four. The leaves start changing, the air becomes brisk, there's pumpkin spice flavored everything and the rains come. Most people that I come across don’t like the rain. Many out here in Western Washington live for those few days out of the year the elusive sunshine decides to grace us with its presence. Not me. The more rain there is, the happier I am. It might be from growing up in Eastern Washington, where the rain is pretty scarce. As many of you know, the fires get pretty bad in the summer out in Eastern Washington. I can’t remember a summer going by where the threat of fire was not a reality. Whenever it rained in the summer (which was almost never) there would be a joyful exclamation because it wet the ground, slowed the fires and brought a reminder that there was an end to the fire season.
Maybe this is why I love the rain so much. It reminds me of those moments. It reminds me that even when the fires are hot and raging, there is an eventual end. There comes a time when the Lord says “enough” and the fire is relieved. I love the rain. It reminds me of who God is and what He does. It reminds me of His power and care for His children. It reminds me that He cares and is never absent.
There's a saying in Christianity these days and it goes something like this, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Although I understand what the intent of this saying is, I would perhaps like to present an alternative view of the fires in our lives. The verse that is often used to back this statement up comes from 1 Corinthians 10 when the Apostle Paul says,
“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.”
Let’s exercise good hermeneutics here. What Paul is specifically talking about in this verse is temptation. If we are going to keep the proper context and interpretation of this verse, we must keep it within the context of temptation and not extend it as a blanket statement for all of Christian life. This is not the intent or meaning of this verse. I would make the very strong case that God does indeed give us more than we can handle. Look at 2 Corinthians 1:8,
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”
Paul and his friend were beyond what they could handle. They were beyond their strength. They were not able to handle the situation they were in. There is such despair in this verse. Friend, I believe God puts us in situations and trials that are impossible to handle. I believe that there are times when God brings us so low that there is no possible way to raise our head and move on. I believe God gives us more than we can handle. I believe He does this for a very specific reason.
God knows what we can handle and it isn’t much. What's the reason then? Why does God put us into situations that are impossible? Why does He seem throw the weight of the world at us? Why are there times that seem to just hurt too much? Why does God give us more than we can handle? Let’s look to the next verses in 2 Corinthians 1:9-10,
“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. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.”
Oh Christian, your hope is in Christ and Christ alone! God gives you more than you can handle so you cling to the power of Christ even more desperately than you do now. God gives you more than you can handle so you realize the depth of your incapability and the height of Christ’s sufficiency. He wants you know the wonder and glory of Himself and the greatness of His strength. He want you to scream at the top of your lungs “Lord, save me!” God gives us more than we can handle so that we run to Him like the frightened children that we are. Run to Him. Run to Him and His safe, sufficient, all-powerful arms.
So when the baby won’t go to bed, the car breaks down, the workload is too much, the marriage is falling apart, the church is broken, the loved one dies, the way is hard and the path is dark, remember one thing. Remember that this “momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Remember that God is never absent. Remember that the glory of God’s power will manifest itself in your utter weakness in ways you can't imagine. Remember that Christ has saved you, pulled you from the pit and claimed you as His own. Remember that when God gives you more than you can handle, it’s not becasue He thinks you can handle it. It's because He wants you to run and cling to the One that can. Run to Him. Run with all your strength to Jesus.