How many times have you heard that phrase? How many times have you said it? Over the past two years especially, I've heard that phrase more times than I care to count. And I have to tell you...I think it's junk.
I really do.
And here's why...if God only gave us what we can handle, there really wouldn't be much on our plates. As a whole, humans are rather unprepared for the crap that life slings at them. I mean, honestly...think about it. Can you possibly prepare yourself for the loss of a loved one? Nope. Can you prepare yourself for a devastating car crash? A financial debacle? Your child becoming ill? A house fire? (Ok, you can kind of prepare for the house fire in terms of escape routes, fire extinguishers, etc. but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about your house burning to the ground, taking everything you own and hold dear - outside of your family members and maybe the cat - with it)
You really can't. You can TRY. But how it plays out in your mind is NEVER close to the reality of it all. But I'm off track here. Getting back to God only giving us what we can handle. I think it's bunk.
Because if He only gave us what we could handle, we wouldn't need HIM. I think he INTENTIONALLY gives us more than we can handle because it forces us to rely on him. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."
"...I had nowhere to go..."
The little things in life - the ones we can handle - we don't think we "need" God to help us in those things. We get so full of ourselves and our abilities to handle the junk that comes at us each day that we turn a blind eye to the possibility of bigger troubles rolling our way. And I think God uses those to get our attention and remind us that we really cannot handle it without Him.
Two years ago, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. We had made it through our first deployment and were gearing up for our second. I had learned a lot through that first deployment - lessons I planned to put to full use for the second go-round. I had plans and I was going to make them WORK. We'd pay off bills. We'd save some money. We'd do x, y, and z while MacGyver was gone. My house would be clean. The kids and I would enjoy our last adventures on the island while Daddy was off flying missions in Iraq. I'd get to spend some quality girl time with my friends whose husbands were also deploying. We'd take a hop or two back to the mainland to visit family. And then, MacGyver would come back, our family unit would be complete. We'd wrap up our time here in Paradise and PCS on to the next chapter of our Army life.
I could handle that.
The only things out of that entire list above that actually happened was the part about saving money (out of dire necessity) and the fact that our family unit is still complete. Which is an incredible blessing, in and of itself...one that outweighs every other thing on that list. Ten times over.
But God gave me a challenge that I had no possible way of handling. I was wholly and utterly unprepared for it. I never saw it coming and it knocked me so far back that I doubt I'll ever get back to the place I was before June of '09. How do you "handle" your husband being in trouble so deep that you literally cannot see a way out? How do you handle a CID agent telling you that you face criminal charges of your own and that CPS might very well take custody of your children because of that? (scare tactics...I know) How do you handle watching every single thing you've worked for your entire adult life disappear in front of you? How do you handle being so scared that you cannot breathe?
Have you ever been in an earthquake? We take for granted that "terra firma" means "firma" all the time. In an earthquake, there is a mental disconnect - a dichotomy of sorts - between what your brain thinks it knows (the ground is solid and unmoving) and what it is experiencing (the ground IS moving). This was an earthquake of sorts only it was my life that was shaking all around me, not the ground. Nothing was solid. Nothing was as it should have been. Nothing was trustworthy or safe. There was nothing on this earth that I could rely on in those moments. Nothing.
I had friends - wonderful friends - telling me that it was going to be ok. As much as I love them, I wanted to yell at them that they were full of crap because no one knew, especially at the start of all of this, that any of this would be anything close to "ok". Like I've said before, I'm used to being able to pull strings and call in favors. I'm used to being able to put people in contract with the right resources for the situation and get them moving toward a solution. But I had no strings to pull. No solutions to point toward. I was left with my faith.
Up until that time, I was basically paying lip service to my faith. Yes, I believe in God. Yes, I believe that He has my best interests at heart. Yes, I believe. But those are words, not actions. I don't think there was ever really a time in my life prior to this that I've ever had to fully rely on God for anything. Or ever cared to. I could handle it all myself. But not this time. I've spent more time on my knees in the past two years that in the other 37 combined.
People have failed me. Institutions that I thought would support me have not. Friends that I thought would be there were not. Lifelines that I thought existed were not as strong as I would have hoped. These were some very tough lessons to learn. But I have never been forsaken. And through all of this, I have been blessed in ways that are immeasurable. I know I've discussed that before but I'm reminded of it on a daily basis now, which is it's own blessing as well. I took things for granted before that I no longer do.
The next time you find yourself getting ready to tell someone that God only gives us what we can handle, think about what you're saying. There really should be a caveat attached to that - He only gives us what we can handle WITH HIM and THROUGH HIM.
I'll step down off my soapbox now. This was just something that's been a burr under my saddle for a while and I needed to get it out.