Sometimes I don’t understand what God is doing. Actually, most of the time, I don’t.
In our own family, I puzzle over where He is leading and how He is going to work. I question why He allows certain struggles into our lives and wonder how, when He will deliver us.
My heart grieves with friends walking through broken relationships, empty wombs, sick children, and dying loved ones. Looking around, I feel the hurt and my spirit groans within me, and I often wonder, “Why, Lord? Why?”
Sometimes it’s because of my own forgetfulness or ignorance. I don’t remember what He promised in His Word or I forget the Truth He has revealed. But other times, my lack of understanding results from the simple fact that God is God and I am not. Even God’s ‘foolishness’ is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Cor. 1:25)!
But this blog post is far from a treatise on why a good God allows suffering … or even why this good God suffered for us.
I was simply reflecting on day one of the family devotional I recently wrote. It starts on Sunday, Palm Sunday, and I have been struck in a new way this year by the expectations the Jewish people had when compared to what was actually about to occur.
The plan of the people was different from the plan of God. They were looking for a right here, right now kind of Savior, someone who would rescue them from the Roman government and the struggles they faced day in and day out. But God had a much bigger plan, and Jesus wasn’t there to simply be a political Savior.
I keep wondering: if I was there, then, how would I have responded? Would I have welcomed Jesus even though He didn’t do what I wanted, when I wanted? Or would I have believed Him, trusting that though I didn’t understand the plan, it was good and right? Would I have stood with Him?
Have you ever heard someone say that God will not give you more than you can handle? I know that I have; I’ve been one to say it!
We’re well-meaning when we say this: we want to bring encouragement and comfort to someone who is hurting or struggling, but the reality is that God will give us more than we can handle.
I can’t tell you how many times I have fallen before the throne of grace, crying out to God in my distress, “Lord, I just. can’t. handle. this! Please, Lord, I give it to You!”
Or like the Old Testament king, Jehoshaphat, who cried out to the Lord when a vast army was attacking, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
God will give us more than we can handle, but He always walks with us. He carries our burdens and pours out grace, being our strength when we are weak. Like He reminded Paul, He reminds us:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)
God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), even those that are packaged in suffering and seem to be far greater than we could ever handle.
It’s okay if you can’t handle it. God can.
As we enter Holy Week, reflecting on the One who came to suffer and save us, I wonder: are we expecting Jesus to save us just from our current circumstances, or do we understand that He might have a greater purpose by allowing us to experience those circumstances and walk through those struggles and feel the weight of the pain and the crushing of our spirits?
Do we trust that He has a plan, that He is writing a bigger story, accomplishing a bigger mission?
Sometimes I don’t understand what God is doing. But I don’t have to understand in order to trust Him.
If you are facing more than you can handle, I pray you know the presence and strength of the One who can. Lean into Him and let Him be your strength.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)