By Cynthia A
There’s a common truism doled out whenever someone is going through a difficult time: “God never gives us more than we can handle.” I have in fact told it to myself, in times past, as a form of comfort. But recently, I’ve come to question the truth of the idea, or rather, to seek out a more nuanced interpretation of what trials mean in our lives. This is partly because people occasionally tell me I must be an extraordinary person whenever I’m going through something particularly difficult. While I know they mean well, I can’t help feeling that harsh trials are a strange reason to put people on a pedestal.
Do I feel especially qualified, for example, to care for a child with special needs? Frankly, no. Others might handle those responsibilities far better, for all I know. What I do believe is that God will help me become more qualified as long as I am willing to rely upon His grace and be shaped into a more capable person. I have found this principle to be absolutely true in practice. Whenever I feel that I am being stretched beyond my own capacity, I turn to Him, and I am given strength and ability above my own.
So, does God give us more than we can handle? Yes, absolutely. But we’re not meant to handle it alone. We never need to. He will always be there to build the bridges when we’ve reached an un-crossable river, to provide a ladder for climbing un-scalable heights. If we were only given tasks that we were amply qualified to perform, we would never grow beyond those initial qualifications. God doesn’t only see our current state, He sees our potential. He wants us to reach it, and He will help us through every stage of the process. I’m better at handling certain challenges now than I used to be, and I can only assume that the future will bring more capacity if I keep striving to grow and change.
I do also believe that God will give us opportunities to rest, to feel relief and peace. Life isn’t always a constant grind of trials and tribulations. We are meant to find and experience joy. And we can find lessons in times of happiness as well as times of trouble. Some of the most joyous moments in my life have come after great struggles because I appreciate the successes all the more after wading through failures. And just as God helps me through my burdens, He shares in my joy.