Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What We Can Handle

Has someone ever told you, "It's OK.  G0d won't give you more than you can handle"?  I've heard that often and I want to say something about that statement:

It's a lie.

It's something said in hard times when people want to be encouraging and don't know what else to say.

The truth is, however, that it's a concept of misquoted Scripture.  I Cor. 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And G0d is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  It's saying that we won't be given more temptation than we can handle.  Not more life experience, blows, tragedy, heartbreak, questions without answers, etc.  And truly terrible stuff happens all the time to really awesome people.

"G0d won't give you more than you can handle," is a statement that invokes guilt.  Because if I'm not coping with something that He's allowed, then I'm somehow to blame.  I'm not good enough, faithful enough, strong enough-----or something.

I recently read 2 Corinthians and was caught up in the vivid picture of humanity that I'd never noticed before there.  Things like:

"We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it."  (1:8) 

"And who is adequate for such a task as this?" (2:16)

"Our hearts ache..." (6:16)

"...there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside." (7:5)

Really?  Wow!  If Paul can feel that way it's OK for me to be human, too!

It takes courage and makes us face realities that aren't easy to ask the hard 'Why G0d?' questions.

"It is easy to spout trite Christian platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology.  But insipid axioms do little in the face of the actual brokenness of the world." 
-Nate Pyle

Steve arrived back in NZ early Sunday morning (Yay!!!).  Later that day he told me a story that's been haunting my mind since.  

FS has a drop in center in the most heavily used part of the sex lanes.  It's a place of fellowship where women still in the trade can come in, hang out, maybe get their nails painted, but the concept is to create relationship and to tell them about the freedom available to them through FS if they choose.  Since there are more and more girls from Nepal in the area, a young women who speaks Nepalese now works there to communicate with them.  

A couple of weeks ago, a girl of about 16 quietly slipped into the center and sat just inside the door watching.  She finally started asking questions and when the Nepalese speaker referred to her Faith, the girl started singing Chr1stian songs in her mother tongue. Turns out that the girl who was raised in a Chr1stian home had been snatched off the street and trafficked when she was 12.  For the past four years she's been literally locked in a brothel and raped every day, a number of times a day.  Only recently has her madam allowed her to occasionally leave the room and that day she had told the madam she needed to go purchase something and came to the drop in center that she had heard about from another girl instead.  

But after that, for now, she had to go back to the brothel.

What do you do with that?  How can things like that happen to a girl who loves Him?  You certainly wouldn't tell her that she 'won't be given more than she can handle,' would you?!

We all, in varying circumstances and degrees, are definitely taken at some point beyond what we can handle.  But there's hope!  The beginning of 2 Corinthians says:

"In fact, we expected to die.  But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on G0d, who raises the dead. "  (vs.9)

I don't understand why He does many things or allows what He does.  I certainly don't have the answers.  But I know that when we are beyond what we can handle ourselves, THAT'S the place where we truly find Him and 'rely' on Him like never before.  And ONLY on Him.  

And we GROW.............!