Fair Warning: Why I May Hit Someone Tomorrow

Sometimes I feel like the next person who says to me “God never gives us more than we can handle” is going to get whacked with a really big Bible (King James Version, of course. I wouldn’t want to cause a concussion with anything less).

First of all, that is NOT a verse in the Bible. There is a verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God 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 stand up under it.” And that verse is totally true but it is about dealing with temptation NOT tribulation.

Second, I can’t imagine that this is a word of encouragement Corrie Ten Boom used in the German concentration camps. Neither can I imagine Christians encouraging each other with this saying as they awaited their turn at being eaten by lions in the Coliseum. Nor would a Christian slave whose children had been sold from her buy into that kind of nonsense. Then why do we say it today to brothers and sisters under extreme duress?

No one wants to be the person facing one struggle after another. We want to think if we love God and make the right decisions we won’t face an unending series of trial but some of us do. Loving, faithful Christian wives discover their husbands are cheating or gay or addicted to gambling. Children who love Jesus watch their mothers die of cancer even after devoted prayer. Godly families with financial struggles get hit with chronic illness. Parents who faithfully follow Jesus watch adult children wander into sin. Pastors who preach and minister with love and grace watch congregations torn apart by immaturity, divisiveness and lies. No one wants to be the person whose name is always on the church prayer list but some of us are and the truth is, we don’t always have a good answer as to why that is.

A Roman Catholic saint named Teresa of Avila once said, “If this is how God treats his friends, no wonder he has so few of them!” Historians report she spoke those words with a smile. She had lost her mother at the age of 14. She contracted malaria in her early 20s. She was unable to walk for three years and battled severe illnesses all of her life. She became a nun and started 17 convents. “After we get through one of these things, we usually find that we learned a lot, and sometimes, we learn just that we can get through it, that God was there even when it didn’t seem like it.”

I think when faced with an endless series of trials, honesty is the best policy. Sometimes we feel hopeful and sometimes we feel crushed. Sometimes we feel God’s presence and sometimes it feels like He has forgotten that we exist. We should always press in to God and trust His promises but when we feel forlorn, false smiles and pretense are deception and deception is not from God.

There are days when God provides strength to rise above and days when we need others to hold our heads up above the waves (and out of the oven). Days when if we know Jesus Christ, that must be enough. And it is.

When I encounter those days, I hold onto two sections of scripture:

Psalm 73: 26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

And Lamentations 3: 18-26 “So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

So if you approach me on those black dog days be careful not to mouth some empty platitude you once saw on a Christian bookmark or a fish bumper sticker. You may end up with a Bible size lump up side your head. And if you’re enduring one of those black dog days yourself, hold tight, my friend. The Lord is our portion and one day we will know that that is truly more than enough.

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    Great post!
    Blessings, andrea

  2. Laura says:

    Wow Lori, thank you. I know I don’t comment usually, but I often read your posts and find them so brutally honest and challenging. You are a very insightful writer. Hope you and your family are doing well.
    -Laura Slay

  3. Laura, that’s very kind of you to comment! I’m glad God works through these posts. Your words are a dear encouragement when I needed it.

  4. Cheri says:

    Lori,

    I love your transparent honesty in this post… well, I love it always.

    This post hits home for sure. I have been on the receiving end of that kind of encouragement, and it is empty and meaningless. And I am ashamed to admit that I have in the past carelessly uttered the same to other dear brothers and sisters. Lord, forgive me.

    Keeping it real,
    Cheri

  5. Dorothy P says:

    I don’t often comment either, Lori, but I read your blog every morning. Your posts guide me through the day. Keep writing, please. I need your posts.

  6. Jackie says:

    Lori, thank you for this post. This has been said to me and I’ve said it to others as well…with no basis for it. Your posts always challenge me to move deeper into my relationship with God. Thank you!

  7. Thank you, Cheri! We all have to work at keeping it real. It’s tough.

  8. Dorothy, thank you for your beautiful encouragement. I need it this week!

  9. Thanks, Jackie – deeper and deeper. It’s the only way!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Lori,

    We’ve been talking about Joy in our Sunday School class, and I find that the word is lacking. We Christians are supposed to have “joy” in the midst of our sufferings, right? But I think “joy” is better said as “hopeful confidence in God”, which can allow us to still feel the pain while trusting in God to see us through the trials we face. Thinking that Christians should always have a smile on because “God never gives us more than we can handle” keeps Christians at arms length from one another. We need to banish this thought from our minds and minister to believers in the midst of their trials, and allow ourselves to be ministered to when we face the same. No more putting on a happy face, or demanding that others do so. Sometimes my face is more gritty with determination than smiley! Let’s stick to what IS scripture – “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

    Thanks for your blog, Lori. It’s really real.

    Heather

  11. Thank you for your encouragement, Heather. It’s hard to live out this truth – much easier to smile and lie. Living truthfully is a tough calling but it’s the only Way! 🙂