More Than I Can Handle

“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle!”

These words are often spoken in our most desperate moments.  They are our “HOSANNA” – a prayer & a praise; a plea really to a loving God who surely wouldn’t weigh our shoulders down unto breaking. Yet, in mercy & loving kindness our compassionate God does just that, give us daily, way more than we can handle. He needs us dependent upon Him. So, those sweet words of comfort, unfortunately, are just not true. They hold no bearing to an authentic Christian life. Fortunately, our incredible Lord, just as with sorrow, pours out more joy than we can handle. He daily steers our little ship into complete & total dependence upon His governing winds.

I have fought this. I still do, unfortunately. I struggle with my will. I am finishing up the book “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis. She describes the struggle she is having with her three year old daughter Grace & bath time. Grace has decided to assert her will not to take a bath. Katie struggles with her every evening. First, encouraging her, and then being firm with her; explaining this is what she needs. In the end it is a struggle to haul her into the tub; Grace fighting, kicking, & pouting. Then Grace remembers that she actually likes bath time & she settles & often doesn’t want to leave the tub.

Katie explains that this is often how God, our Father, has to deal with us being in the center of His will:

Sometimes I still think what I do with my life should be my decision. God asks, and reasons, and encourages. He gently explains that I do not know what is best for me and that I do not always get what I want. And I just look at Him, not understanding at all what He’s trying to say. Sometimes, I even whine and sob and shriek, just like a tired, angry three-year-old.

So God picks me up, exhausted from struggling, and plops me in the center of His will for my life. And then a funny thing happens. As I kick and scream and struggle, I remember: I like being in the center of God’s will for my life. God’s plan is usually pretty great. It is a whole lot better than mine anyway. I am so glad that He does not allow me to win.

I shudder to think what would transpire if God did allow me to win. My heart breaks as I wrestle, like Jacob, with God. I fight Him until I am black and blue, and He never backs down. He is a parent who knows what is best for their child. Even when I make catastrophic mistakes, run from all the love He has for me, when I crest that hill and He catches sight of His wayward daughter, He comes running.  His instruction, while sometimes painful, is always meant for my good. He is making me into a woman of character; a daughter who will proclaim His love to other hurting souls.

He equips me with thorns in my side in order that His strength might be manifested in my weakness. I am then unable to be haughty about my situation, but in all humility, speak of the wondrous God I serve. I am able to reach out, at times through my pain, and touch another soul, lessening their burden. I do not need to change the world or do something monumental. If I will reach out past my comfort zone, and touch one with love then I have shown Christ to someone.

Life is hard. It is painful. Suffering hollows out deep grooves in our soul. The caverns left in its wake can either be left to fester with pride, anger, resentment or be filled with the healing power of Jesus. It does seem easier to be numb instead of feel. We often do this with food, alcohol, sex, drugs, gossip, etc… These things step in as our surrogate god, dulling the pain, with seemingly little cost. We even replace human love for God’s love. I see this reflected in the eyes of discontented husbands and wives.

We spin our wheels, striving to keep our head above water, wanting to follow God, afraid to follow God. The cycle never ends. We don’t trust God with our hearts because we haven’t quit struggling with His will. We think He doesn’t have our best in mind.

I love Matthew 11: 29-30 which says:

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

It was kind of the “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” verse for me. It seemed light and airy, full of promise. I didn’t really realize the weightiness of the verse.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me”…when oxen are placed in a yoke they are basically being trained to walk where the plowman wishes them to go. The pain and struggle of fighting to go the wrong way only leads to more correction. It leaves us tired, weary, & broken. Yet, Jesus is gentle and humble at heart. He will provide a resting place for our souls. If we would stop wrestling against the yoke we would learn the ease of following its direction. Our burdens might break us in two if we handled them on our own, but it wasn’t intended to be that way. God walked with Adam & Eve in the cool of the day. He laughed with them & they knew fellowship.

Our hearts will always struggle under the loss of Eden. We were made with these restless wondering spirits that bleed with the need be filled. The need for God.

I want to be used up by Jesus. I know I will fail. I know that I will seek the world instead of Him more often than I would like. I know I will forget to show someone love. I am sure I will feel lonely, small, forgotten, & scared.  I am certain I will make an utter fool of myself. But, I want the burden that comes with being in the center of His will. I am tired of being the dog that chases her tail. I cannot get anywhere when I try to do it on my own. I have to come to understand that there are things I just may never understand. It is easy to get into a questioning game with God. We don’t understand, we think we know best. Well, I don’t know best. I want all the wick & wax gone.

Brother Jesse preached a beautiful sermon this past Sunday about the things that direct us to a supreme act of worship. The scripture verse was Romans 12: 1-2:

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

There were four key things we needed in order to experience this type of worship. One, we needed a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Two, we needed to exhibit our change by presenting our bodies to the Lord. Three, we needed to surrender our mind to God. Four, we needed to surrender our will.

Within this he gave a list of things that we had to surrender which were: HOPES, PLANS, PRECIOUS THINGS, ALL THAT IS IMPORTANT, & OUR DREAM!

The dream is the biggest for me. It has taken some time, at thirty-one, to say, “I’m okay, really okay, to never be married & have children.” This was by far, one of the biggest dreams I had for my life. However, I look at the journey God has me on right now. If I had been married and had the kids when I wanted them I would never have the opportunity to minister to those at the Hope Lodge or be “Ms. Melissa” to six incredible gifts from Heaven. I don’t look at my loss of a dream as a failure on God’s part, but as a reassurance of the promise He has given me.

He has set my soul aflame for Him again, just because I asked Him too. It scares me. I still try to grasp. By entering the writing contest it stirred so much in my little soul. I became desperate for it. It was my mirage in the desert. Whatever God chooses to do with my writing I have to understand that it is His, and it does not replace my need for Him. It will not fill my heart with joy, and comfort me when I am worn and weary.

In the end, He has always been more than I can handle. He gives and takes away. I choose to quit striving. I choose to quit fighting. I choose to quit doing. All I want to do is be. Be where He is. Be in the midst of His perfect will. I don’t know where that will lead. As Sara Groves puts it so beautifully in one of her songs, “I don’t know where it leads me…peace and resurrection…suffering and dejection…”

All I know is I want  more…

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’; or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day. – CS Lewis

The sovereign God wants to be loved for Himself & honored for Himself, but that is only part of what He wants. The other part is that He wants us to know that when we have Him we have everything – we have all the rest. – AW Tozer


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