A Strength Beyond Understanding…

There is a place I have not seen with my eyes, but I know its existence well.  I know because His hand gently guides me there when I am overwhelmed.  I have heard numerous times, “God will not give you more than you can handle”.  And yet, if we could handle on our own all that life throws our way, what need would we have for a Savior?  There are going to be seasons that are completely overwhelming and all-consuming.  There will be trials and setbacks that no human can endure on their own.  This can lead one to  believe they must not be godly enough, holy enough, or strong enough because they are experiencing moments of complete distress and are unable to conquer their circumstance.

If I am using my own life experiences, I could say with ease that this past year has been far more than I could handle on my own.  By this, I mean physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I am certain I could not have handled this past year solely by my own strength.  In fact, I am positive it is only by the grace of Jesus that I am able to say, “It is well with my soul.  In sickness and in health, I am loved to the deepest depths by the Creator of all things. It is His strength and life within me that keeps me going and believing the best is yet to come.”  Yes, I have a choice.  I am not robotic and merely obeying commands as they come, but rather choosing to accept the gift He offers each of us…Himself.

There is nothing special about my circumstance or my choices.  But there is something extravagantly beautiful in how He works within the human heart.  He speaks gently and guides our steps while protecting us from danger.  He takes us to  wide open spaces spiritually, even though we may be physically limited or emotionally paralyzed by our circumstance.  He teaches us how to find life in the storm, joy in the midst of trials, and beauty among the ashes of our lives.

You see, saying God will not give you more than you can handle places way too much power into our own hands.  It conveys this idea that we are tough and if we just push through, we win!  Yet, in reality the true victory is based on our relationship with Christ and choosing Him, no matter the outcome.  We are not complacently or flippantly throwing our hands in the air and saying, “Just fix this!”  No!  We are making a conscious decision to allow Christ to move within our heart and soul, which will automatically flow into whatever circumstance we face.  It’s not stepping back from responsibility or decision making, but rather constantly submitting our lives to Him.

Please do not confuse submission with giving up.  It is the furthest thing from forfeiting.  It is making a personal decision to place our circumstance, our heart, our dreams, our sickness, our brokenness, our anxieties at the foot of the cross.  Some synonyms for submission are prostration,  humility, or status.  Since we live in a world of updating our status on Facebook or twitter, maybe we should say, “My status is in Christ alone.  He walks me through the valley of the shadow of death and I fear not.  He guides my steps and I choose Him.”

I read this scripture this morning and I loved it!!!

But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it-you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked- well that Trusting Him to do it, is what gets you set right with God, by God.  Sheer gift.” Romans 4:5

If your current circumstance is beyond your capacity to endure, take heart my friend, God is closer than your very breath. Turn to Him when your heart is broken, when your dreams are shattered, when you’re  grieving the loss of a loved one, and when you see no way out.  We are all brought to the end our ourselves at some point in our journey.  If we can remember it is not our strength that will see us through, but the life giving strength of Jesus Christ as stated in  I Corinthians 10:13,

“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.”

Instead of saying “God will not give you more than you can handle” I think it is better stated, “God will not allow you to walk through trials and temptations without His unfailing love and constant presence in the midst of your storm.  He will equip you with everything you need to endure the battle.  There is no circumstance greater than  His strength within you.  He gives life in the midst of life’s messes.”  May you be able to endure whatever trials you are facing with the strength of Christ Jesus.

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