Saturday, March 19, 2016

More than you can handle

When Emily and I got in an accident with a semi truck, it left me with a traumatic brain injury. When all of our life plans were shattered in a split second, my view of God was changed. The God I once thought I had all figured out turned out to be much bigger than I’d been giving Him credit for. He showed me the woeful insufficiency of the little box I’d made for Him. Before our accident, I was convinced God would never give me more than I could handle because He loved me. After our accident, when I became unable to control my body or talk like I used to, I’ve become convinced  that God has given me more than I can handle precisely because He loves me. God loves me - and you - enough to use hard things to push us into the best place we could possibly be: His loving embrace.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul said God gave him “thorn in the flesh”. He called it “a messenger from Satan sent to torment me - to keep me from exalting myself.” It’s unclear what specifically Paul was referring to, but based on the context, and what we’re told of his life in the book of Acts, it’s safe to assume he was given some sort of physical infirmity. Many scholars believe it was blindness, others speculate it may have been a speech disorder or chronic pain. We aren't told for certain, but Paul said he pleaded with God three times to take away whatever it was. God answered with these words: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God gave Paul more than he could handle to show His great, sufficient grace to Paul, and to others through Paul.

Sometimes God does give us more than we can handle, but it’s a far greater gift than any sort of physical security or tangible luxury. He gives us hard things so we can better see His grace. He gives us more than we can handle so we have no choice but to fall into the safety of His arms. The little phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle” originates from 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says that God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we’re able to resist. He will never put us in a situation where sin is the only option, but He will put His children in situations where His strength shines beautifully through our weakness.

What a grace it is to be given more than you can handle.