Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Where is God when life gives us more than we can handle

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
THERE is this old cliché that does the rounds: God will not give you more than you can handle. Platitudes such as these have done harm.
I have found in my experience of life that it has broken me at times. Yet, paradoxically, the very process of being broken has made meaning of the suffering, as it opened the door to something God was doing.
The first time I was broken by grief I was so smashed up on the rocks of life I thought of ending it. But in the process of being blindsided and overwhelmed I did the only thing I could do — I called out to God, please God, help me!
Not only did God help me, He made Himself known to me, in a real, relatable, tangible way.
The fact is we suffer in this life if we’re honest. John Chrysostom (347 – 407) says, “we have sustained a life more grievous than countless deaths; fearing and trembling through so many days, and being suspicious of our very shadows… in our sleep, [waking] up, through constant agony of mind.” His point is God knows what we suffer and His Presence in our lives, and His salvation, is our mercy.
This life pushes us over the brink. And it’s as we fall into that dark chasm that God rescues us, when we’re honest before Him; as we confess our fear, and what it is that makes us feel we cannot cope.
God does not typically provide a magical ‘way out’, but the rescue He provides works over the days and weeks that ensue. We find that, though we lament our suffering, God gives us a way to endure it.
We find that God gives us the resolve and capacity to search. We crave meaning, a purpose for what we suffer. And God delivers on what is promised: if we knock at the door of inquiry, that door will be opened to us; not of perfectly satisfactory answers, but of peace to accept what we cannot change, which is supremely better amid this mysterious life.
In our suffering, God provides more than a magical rescue. He enables us to endure, creates meaning, and teaches us the peace of patient acceptance.

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