Thursday, April 18, 2013

More Than We Can Handle?

Today I want to share some really interesting quotes from the sample chapters of a book entitled Emtpy by Cherie Hill. These sample chapters were included in the eBook I've been reading called Hope Being Gone by this same author.


"God has never said that He won't give us more than we can handle. 
What He has shown is, throughout history, 
He always gives people more than they can handle." - Cherie Hill

This is the very thing I've been grappling with for months. I wrote about the topic of "burdens: how much is too much" before. You see, there's a phrase that's used a lot in Christian circles: "God will never give us more than we can handle." It's bandied about as a source of comfort when we're "under the pile" of life. It's said by well-meaning individuals and meant to encourage. Although the source of this saying is based in truth, it's been twisted a bit. 

The temptations in your life are no different 
from what others experience. 
And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation
 to be more than you can stand
When you are tempted, he will show you 
a way out so that you can endure. -1 Cor 10:13 

This scripture is about temptation, not trouble in life. The Bible is full of real people who experienced difficulties that were more than they could bear. Remember our man Job? He definitely endured a series of hardships that caused him to finally say it would have been better if he had never been born (Job 3). Then there's our friend Paul who was overwhelmed and crushed beyond his ability to endure (2 Cor 1:8-9). If you and I stop and think about it, we can probably cite a personal example of someone we know--even ourselves--who may be/or have been under the weight of severe illness or other extreme hardships. It seems more than they/we can bear on our own. How can this be? That takes me to my 2nd point to share...


"God always gives us more than we can handle, 
in order to reveal what He is able to do through our faith in Him.
...Without situations in life that we can't handle, 
we'd never need God to show up. 
Why would we even need to pray at all?" - Cherie Hill

Interesting. Paul says that his own weakness demonstrates God's great power (2 Cor. 12:8-10.) It's at this point that I have to bow to God's soveriegnty to know how much is too much for any one person to handle. He knows just how much pressure it will take to accomplish what needs to be done. He created me and you and knows us even better than we know ourselves. I won't pretend that this is an easy subject to explain away and I'm not trying to do that here. Suffering is a bitter pill to swallow. I feel as if the Lord is challenging my thinking about this faith walk I call life. Keeping the Word in context of scripture is vital to understanding.


My final thought to share is not a quote from the book, instead it's an explanation of the difference between a cistern and a well. I've read the following verse about cisterns and even studied it briefly in the past. For whatever reason (maybe being a city girl), I never really understood this verse.

For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns t
hat can hold no water. - Jer. 2:13 

A well
A cistern is an artificial reservoir--sort of a modern-day rain barrel. It's usually above ground, but it can be placed underground. A cistern is designed simply to store water. But, it has to be filled by an outside source. As we all know, a well is dug in the ground, with supporting walls, and usually has a natural source--a continuous flow--of fresh ground water. The cistern water doesn't have that continuous natrual source of water. It can will dry. If it's cracked, the water will leak out. We can never be completely satisfied with water from a cistern. Water in that cistern can get stagnant. Yuck. In life we often fill our "cisterns" with things that may satisfy for the moment (money, relationships, drugs, food), but eventually all of those will leak out through that broken cistern. It's only when we go to the source of this Living Water that we will be truly satisfied and refreshed. That source is Jesus (John 4:11). I think really understanding the difference between these two vessels and the sources of the water helped me. I hope it helps you.

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