Hope4Nations logo

It’s more than I can handle

Mark and Michelle Moore

Pain, loss, stress, struggles, frustrations, disappointment, grief…and the list can go on and on and on. Life. Sometimes it comes to a point where it feels (and maybe is) overwhelming and more than we can endure. How can this be? Doesn’t God promise us that He will not give us more than we can bear or handle? Didn’t we make a decision to follow Christ because we wanted a better life? You know, “shadow of His wings” and all that. We’re supposed to be protected, sheltered, happy. If that’s true, then why all the pain, loss and disappointment?

Actually, God never said he wouldn’t give us more than we can handle. That verse is often misquoted. The actual verse from Paul says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (I Corinthians 10:13) Being “tempted beyond your ability” and “being given more than you can handle” are two completely separate and different things. In fact, Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians writes this: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (II Corinthians 1:8-9)

My wife and I have served in the Middle East for 16 years. In April, God spoke to us that it was time to relocate our ministry to the USA. It was a difficult decision to make because it required us to leave our home, friends and ministry family. Our children had grown up there…their friends are there. But we’ve spent our lives following Him, even when it was difficult, so we began making the arrangements. And then, two months later, our 20 year old daughter was involved in an ATV accident that eventually claimed her life. Since April, our lives have literally been turned upside down…pressed beyond our strength.

More than we can handle.

And then the questions come. How can a loving God allow this to happen? How can we follow Him with such passion and determination only to find ourselves “unprotected” and “disappointed“? How can we continue to pursue Him if we cannot be certain that He will uphold His side of the bargain?

I think that’s why Paul starts verse 8 with “For we do not want you to be unaware….” It’s important to remember that God did not promise that we could write our own story where we were never disappointed or unhappy. It’s also important to remember that we still have an enemy. His plan is simple – to kill, steal and destroy. One day, we will be free from pain, loss and disappointment…but not today. Yet, God in His goodness, takes the weight and burdens that we cannot bear and He uses them to drive us into His arms…“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (II Cor. 1:9)

We’re not supposed to “handle it”. He is. It’s not weakness when we say, I can’t do this Lord, please take it and do the miraculous. You see, He is the only one that can raise dead dreams and hopes and make them into something better. Michelle and I have not seen the fullness of His resurrection power over our situation…but we are learning to give it to Him. We need to learn it because there will be more pain, loss, stress, struggles, frustrations, disappointment & grief this side of eternity. What I learn with each step will help me to take the next one. Isn’t that what life is…taking the next step? One foot in front of the other trusting in His ability, not mine.