In “Other” Words

“If all you ever attempt is that which you know you can do,
or have the resources for,
how will you ever discover what He can do?My Jesus is . . . Everything!
~Anne Graham Lotz

When I first read this week’s quote, my mind immediately flashed back to a comment I made over five years ago. I even know the date…February 2, 2004. :) I was talking to a friend on the phone…I’m not even sure who…and I remember distinctly saying, “I know That God never gives us more than we can handle, but I am telling Him that I am *there*. I am at the outer limit.”

The funny thing about that comment is that I have no idea *what* I was talking about at the time. I know that my parents and I were dealing with “issues” with my grandfather, which were part of it, I’m sure. I remember feeling rather overwhelmed with housework and homeschooling…it had been a difficult pregnancy, and I had had a hard time keeping up. But really, I’m not so sure *what* was so overwhelming at the time, other than that a conglomeration of “life”.

I have often wondered since if God was smiling as he heard my words. :)

Two days later, I was in an ambulance in the middle of a snowstorm on my way to a hospital with a Level III NICU, in premature labor. Three days after that, Ammah Grace was born, 10 weeks early. She spent the next 6 weeks in the NICU, 2 1/2 hours away from home, receiving one dire prognosis after another. I spent those 6 weeks travelling back and forth, staying in Little Rock the last three weeks while Billy, my parents, and various friends and church members cared for our three older children and things at home.

Just when we were starting to feel a bit “normal” again after that upheaval, my dad’s health, which hadn’t been good for several years, began a sudden, steep decline. A few months later he was hospitalized and we discovered that among other things, cancer had returned. He died two months before Ammah Grace’s first birthday.

The years since my dad’s death have held their own traumas…days that have made Ammah Grace’s hospitalization and my dad’s illness seem like the easy part.

At some point in the midst of all of that, I was reflecting back on the conversation with my friend two days before Ammah Grace’s birth. As I chuckled at bit at the irony of my words on that particular day, and how *often* I have since wished I could go back to those “good old days” :), I realized that my theology was faulty.

God does, often, give us more than we can handle. Because it’s not about “what we can handle”. It’s about His strength, made manifest in our weakness. He wants us to learn that we can *not * make it in our own strength. He wants us to learn to rely on *His* strength. He tells us that we can do “all things” through Christ who strengthens us…not just the things we can handle. (Php. 4:13) He wants us to learn what a big God he is, and to depend on his power completely, moment by moment.

In fact, He tells us to rejoice in what we *can’t* do! This passage has had a whole new meaning for me in the past few years:

"But He said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~2 Cor. 12:9-10

We are to *delight* in our weaknesses, in the hard times, in the things that we “can’t handle”. We are at our strongest when we realize that we “can’t” handle circumstances in our own strength, and begin to truly rely on *His* strength.

I still struggle with this. It’s a day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, thing. Just last night I got completely overwhelmed, again, and fell flat on my face. There are *lots* of days when if I only attempted the things I knew I could do or for which I knew I had the resources…I wouldn’t get out of bed!!

But God has been so amazing over the last few years to show me more and more how HUGE He is, and how amazingly vast are HIS resources. Through circumstances I would have said I could *never* handle, He has shown me things about His nature and character I could never have learned any other way. And I am thankful.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
~Isaiah 55:8

Thank you to Nina at Mama’s Little Treasures for hosting this week’s In “Other” Words…visit her to see what others have to say about this week’s quote!

Another post on "God not giving us more than we can handle" can be found here:  The End of the Rope


Debbie said...

Jennifer, we are so on the same page with this. You expressed my sentiments so perfectly but of course, we have different circumstances. So often I hear people say "God won't give you more than you can handle." I disagree with that. When we realize it is too much for us to handle, that's when we turn to Him. And His strength, wisdom and help is what's needed. Not my strength or wisdom. It's beyond my ability and comfort zone which is where He wants us to be; trusting Him.

Great post Jennifer! Loved it and your examples were so perfect although I'm sure quite painful for you. Thanks for sharing your heart.

kel said...

I SO needed this today. I really did. thanks

Sarah said...

Thank you for this post. I needed to read it today. Such a good reminder that in our weakness, He is strong.

Kecia said...

Amen! Whenever I hear someone say that God never gives us more than we can handle I want to tell them that He wants to give us more than we can handle so we learn to depend on His strength. Good word.

Jennifer said...

Debbie...I just posted over at your place. :) I really appreciated your post, too. It's always exciting to see others who are in the same "class" learning some of the same lessons. :) Thanks for your sweet words.

Sarah...I need to be reminded of this so often, too! It's a constant struggle. (((Hugs, girl)))

Kelli...(((Big hugs))) You are one who is *such* an incredible example to me of God shining through weaknesses...it is amazing to me to see all you accomplish in the midst of Braden's health issues. I appreciate you so much!

Kecia...Wow, I hear your dad in that Amen, and it makes me smile. :) Such a hard lesson sometimes, but such a blessing when I can make myself RW[I]K and rest in *His* strength.