Over the last three days different individuals shared everything in the above list with me.
"God will not give you more than you can handle." Really? That saying is not actually in the Bible. It never says He won't give you more than you can stand. It says in Corinthians that you won't be tempted beyond what you can bear. But He never promises you won't be with faced with trials that are too much.
Job's trials (if you don't know the story of Job click here) seemed like too much. He lost everything. Everything. Children. Money. Business. Health. Friends. He lost it all, yet when his wife (oh lovely woman that she was) told him to "curse God and die", he refused. Why? Because he could handle or bear his loss and heartache? I don't think so. I think he said no to cursing God and uttered "though He slay me yet will I hope in Him" because he understood that the Maker of the universe didn't answer to him. I love when Job, toward the end of the book when confronted by the All powerful God in all His majesty, slaps his hand over his mouth and says "surely I spoke of things I don't understand." No, Job was given more than he could bear. And yet he survived.
God never promises you won't be faced with trials that are too much.
But He does promise His peace.
He promises that His grace will be enough.
He promises that He will never leave you.
He promises you love and mercy new every morning.
So much hurt. It would be easy today to either 1)give pat answers and lovely cliches to all the hurting people in my life or 2) tell them, yep, life sucks, it's hopeless.
But neither of those responses seem, well, adequate or Truthful.
As I sit here and look out at the beautiful blue skies and white frosted trees, I pray.
I pray for honesty and authenticity to meet people where they are in their hurt...
for relief and provision for the dad without work
for sustaining grace for each moment for the anxious mom
for healing and understanding for the marriage on the brink
for a glimmer of hope for the depressed
for a forgiveness and peace for the prodigal
for a friend for the friendless
for wisdom in life changing decisions
for patience between family members
for healthy responses to anger
"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." ~Paul to the people in Ephesus
**Portrait by Marc Chagall "Job Prays"