What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

27 August 2017

Hard to Handle

There's a cute little saying that does the rounds of churchy folks like myself, and it's some variation of "God will never give you more than you can handle." I believe the origin of this idea comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to [humans]. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (ESV)

It's a great verse, for all that it's used to browbeat people who are trying their hardest to make changes in their lives. (Let's try not to do that.) It reminds us that God is present in all things and that he knows us well enough to know where our limits are. Pretty great, right?

Storms both literal and figurative will come. And there's no
way to be ready for all of them, and some of them will
knock even the most prepared among to the ground and
try to crush us before we can get up again.
Source: QR9iudjz0 on freeimages.com.
But when it becomes "God won't give you more than you can handle," we have a problem, because our modern life is non-stop more than anyone can handle. Obviously, I stop well short of believing that everything we've inflicted on ourselves and one another comes from God. I don't think he dictated the pace of modern life or the 24-hour news cycle or FOMO, nor the sometimes destructive ways we've devised to pull ourselves out of those things when it all gets to be too much. But I do think that saying to someone who is struggling just to keep her head above water, "God will never give you more than you can handle," is not good for anyone's mental health. Maybe God doesn't, but that doesn't mean your boss or your child's school or a natural disaster won't.

One of my core beliefs, as a person who follows Jesus, is God knew what he was doing when he gave us a community of fellow believers. That we should call on each other for help and strength and moral support when times are rough is absolutely right. So let's do each other a favor, and approach these moments as a time to offer help instead of platitudes. Because an ill-timed word is just going to add to the damage, and none of us want to do that.

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