Wednesday

More Than We Can Handle

credit Kari Davis
The doorknob shouldn’t be rattling, I thought, turning toward the sound. The spoon in my hand paused midway between a bowl of Cheerios and my toddler's mouth. It was 8 a.m.—too early for visitors. My husband had left for work an hour earlier, and the neighborhood was just beginning to stir. A school bus rumbled up the road, skirting the trash truck as it made its Monday rounds. 

“Daddy!” my eldest daughter squealed happily, scrambling from her seat as the door swung open slowly. One look at my husband’s face told me something was terribly wrong. 

“Are you sick?” I asked, trying to make sense of his premature return. 

“They let me go,” he said. 

Our eyes met in panic and disbelief. If anyone had asked us, we would have said David was at the top of his career. He had been with the company almost six years and was earning more money than he ever had. Although I only worked a day and a half as a dental hygienist, we were able to put money aside at the end of every month. 

His dismissal made no sense. 

David awakened the next morning intending to begin his job search, but instead was incapacitated by violent stomach pains and nausea. When I went out to get medicine, the car belched a cloud of black smoke and died in the driveway. “I think your engine’s blown,” our mechanic friend told us as he peered under the hood. 

I eyed my children fearfully, wondering what Job-like plague would befall us next. It came the following day. A trip to the mailbox yielded a letter from David’s former employer informing us that our health insurance had ended with his termination. 

Three days later, I reached my breaking point. 

“Lord,” I cried out, “this is so bad; I can’t even imagine how you can fix it.” My mind swirled with desperate thoughts and my stomach clutched with fear. “You tell us in your Word that nothing is too hard for you,” I prayed. “Please help us.” 

All my life I’ve heard people say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” They base this on 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” This verse, however, is talking about temptation, not testing or trials. I’m firmly convinced God will allow more trials and testing into our lives than we can bear. It happened to the Apostle Paul, just like it happened to my family during that horrible winter of 1994. 

Listen to Paul’s lament: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death” (2 Cor. 1:8-9). Paul’s situation was so bad he thought he would die. 

Yet God allowed it. 

Why? 

Paul tells us: “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God,” (v. 10). 

When Paul reached the end of his resources, the end of his endurance, the end of his courage, and the end of himself, he cried out to the God who could do the impossible, and he delivered him. This same God delivered us. 

It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen without effort on our part. Every day yielded new opportunities to trust God in the face of our fears. Some days we felt mighty and brave. Other days we felt weak and scared. Through it all, we continued to claim God’s promises and do our part. 

David applied for jobs. We took the car to another mechanic for a second opinion. We sought medical help for his illness. And little by little, the pieces began to fall into place. 

After a series of tests, doctors got David’s gastric distress under control. He found a temporary job that supplemented the generous gifts from kind friends and met our basic needs. A second mechanic discovered that our car needed a distributor cap, not an engine, and another friend paid for the repair. 

It was a horrible, glorious time. 

Our faith grew in giant leaps as we prayed and saw God answer. We learned the true source of our provision—God--not David’s job. We discovered that God cared about all the details of our lives and was intimately acquainted with all our ways. We learned to trust him and not ourselves. We learned to say with Paul,

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope . . .” (v. 10). My husband and I discovered that God sometimes gives us more than we can handle, but he never gives us more than he can handle. 

If you’re going through a difficult time today, I encourage you to trust the God who can do the impossible. He will not disappoint you. And if you have a story of deliverance, I’d love to hear it. Will you leave a comment below and encourage us all?



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2 comments:

  1. Yes, God will allow things to "happen" to us. He is interested in our response to these things. I could, as well as other followers, go on and tell examples of our trials from our lives. It is important - just like you did in this post - to give Him the glory. Good job sharing this post along with hope. He is our hope! Blessings from Ringle, WI.

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going through something hard right now, and I needed to hear these words. Thank you!

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