Last month someone reached out to me sort of randomly and asked me if I would be interested in joining a Bible Study group. I’m just going to admit right here and now that I have never, and I mean never, read the Bible. I don’t know much about it and I certainly don’t know how to navigate through it. And, when I say Bible Study group, I use that term loosely because it ended up just being me and her, not much of a group. I was nervous. And honestly, every single Thursday night I am nervous and wondering if this is really for me. Every Thursday I think this is the week I’m going to just tell her I don’t want to do it anymore. However, I find that the hour I spend every Thursday reviewing my homework reading from the previous week, asking questions and learning from this person, has probably been one of my better decisions, and I keep going. I’ve always believed in God, but this Bible Study has taken me down a path of really figuring out what exactly that means.
We have been reading the book of Matthew and last night’s review covered the Lord’s Prayer. I’m sure many of you know it. The line that sticks out is “Deliver us from evil.” In my Bible I have these awesome study guide notes at the bottom of each page that helps explain what I’m reading in basic terms. In the study notes it said something to the effect of “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I don’t have it right in front of me, so I’m paraphrasing a bit here so bear with me.
I had highlighted this in pink and wanted to talk more about that because I hear this phrase all the time. All. The. Time.
When someone says to you “God will never give you more than you can handle”, how does that make you feel? To me, it strikes a tone of fairness that I like. There’s something about that phrase that makes me pleased that God has assessed what I can handle and only gives me the things I can move through. Upon talking about it last night I had a WOW moment. What if God gives you more than what he thinks you can handle to turn you back to Him? Sit on that for a minute.
Not giving us more than we can handle points the sufferer inward instead of Godward. I did a google search on this verse for more information and I read this, “The saying ‘God will never give you more than you can handle’ tells me I have what it takes. It tells me I can bear whatever comes my way. It tells me God permits trials according to my ability to endure. Think about what this conventional wisdom does: it points people inward.”
It goes on to say, “Yet the Bible points us Godward. When our strength is failing under crushing burdens, the answer is not within. The power comes from Him to those who wait on Him.” Read the prayer line again: “Deliver us from evil.”
We will never live a life that is not filled with trials of all different shapes and sizes. Suffering will happen because we live in a broken world with broken people. Let’s be honest with ourselves – we don’t really have what it takes. God will give us more than we can handle – but not more than He can.
So, I go back to that phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” We say this to people all the time when their world is falling apart – the death of a loved one, loss of a job or home, divorce. We say it as a form of comfort. We have essentially promised something that the Bible never does.
I know this is a bit of a Bible thumping blog post and it may turn many of you off and that is OKAY. However, I needed to share it with you. I’ve mentioned plenty of times before that instead of running away from God when Nikolai died, I ran toward him, full force. I hit a wall of such grief that I knew I could not handle it on my own and the only way I was going to make it through was to share my grief with the one I knew would help me through it, God.
In a sense, all this learning this week has brought me full circle to what I already knew in my heart, I guess. Maybe God let Nikolai’s death happen to bring me back to Him. He didn’t cause it, but he didn’t stop it either. And while that may make people angry to think about it that way, it makes sense to me. I desperately wish Nikolai was still here and I miss him every single day. I also know God always has his hand on my shoulder walking me through that grief.
I have only met Nikolai in my dreams twice since his death; however, others have also experienced conversations with him, and the one commonality is that he is okay. While he misses us, he needed to leave, and he is happy now.
I know this post isn’t for everyone, but it’s what I needed to write about at this moment. Maybe it will help you, maybe it won’t. Maybe it will turn you away from this blog, maybe it will draw you nearer. I don’t know – I’m just letting my heart speak today.