Recently my wife and I adopted a 12-year-old girl out of foster care. The miracle is that after a month in our home, she began to follow Christ (more on that journey to come!). We have no other kids, so all of a sudden having a child who we are now responsible to disciple at that age has been no small task for us! I immediately started researching various books and devotionals for girls her age that could be helpful. All of a sudden, I was taken back to when I first became a Christian as a teenager recalling the many books and devotionals I read (some I still have after 22 years). To be honest, a lot of them were not that good! Especially considering that I really struggled with my faith during those years into college and shortly after. Part of the problem is that most were just the popular ones at the time. It seems that much has not changed as some sayings I remember believing in are still out there today; ones that while being pushed in a Christian book, have just about zero Biblical grounding. The one I briefly want to tackle here is “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
I am so thankful to have outgrown that saying. For many years believing that negatively affected my walk with Christ. As difficulties came my way I developed a self-reliance apart from Christ because I thought I had to handle it all. You know, because God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle! That phrase put a yoke on my shoulders which they were not mean to bare. Whatever trials and tribulations came my way, I rolled up my sleeves, looked up to Heaven, and said “I’ve got this God!” But I rarely, if ever “had it.” I was actually pushing God away and then wondering where He was.
The reality is God gives us much more than we can handle. Sometimes it is crushing. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes there doesn’t appear to be a way out or a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be relentless.
But, I’ve learned a follower of Christ thanks his mighty Creator for such situations. The crushing is met with songs of praise. The impossible is met with constant prayer. The darkness is met with the light of His living Word. The non-stop heartache is met with relentless unconditional love. The “more than we can handle” is our needed opportunity to die to ourselves (Galatians 2:20) and show our weakness to display His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).
When those impossible moments or seasons come, do not make prayer your last resort or go to God when all else fails; that is what the world does. Christian, you are a child of God. Go to Him first and in praise and worship, in prayer and in reading His Word, lay your weakness at the feet of Jesus. Thank Him for more than you can handle because now you are where you need to be. He is strong, He is a conqueror, He is the King of Kings.
While I search for devotions for my daughter we just spend a little time in God’s word daily. There is obviously much she doesn’t understand and her questions seem endless and her disinterest can be jarring. But, for now, I can rest knowing what she is hearing and learning is actually Biblical. My wife and I only hope to show her our utter dependency on His word. We will and have failed, but I would take that over some pseudo-biblical-positive-thinking that while holding her interest, is not really showing her the beauty and glory of Jesus. Because the day will come, probably soon, where she is faced with more than she can handle and we pray her first response will be running to her Jesus.