This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia [modern-day Turkey]. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
We all have heard the adage: “God will not give you more than you can handle.” However, I am beginning to realize that this view of life challenges is from the wrong direction. It should be: “God helps us handle what we are given.” Let us be very honest: there are some trials and tragedies in this life that we, in our own strength, are not just equipped to handle. They are just too big, too dark, too painful, too overwhelming… no amount of determination and will-power will make things right. I think of the victims of the mass shootings; of devastating natural disasters; of loss of a loved one to illness or accident; of a mental or emotional trauma; survivors of abuse, rape and sex trafficking; and so many other challenges that people struggle with every single day.
The apostle Paul shares how it feels to experience such hardships: “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” How many of us have felt this way? Are you wrestling with these thoughts and feelings right now?
The simple truth is that there will be experiences and situations that are so overwhelming that, left on our own, we cannot endure.
Yet the Lord does not ask us to endure alone. If the Lord, Creator of the universe, can speak life into existence and raise even the dead, then He can help us through. It is no secret. There is only way through the trials and tribulations of the sin-torn world, we must stop “…relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God”. If we let go of trying to control and trust God to lead us, He will see us safely through to the other side of the trial.
So do not despair! If you feel overwhelmed, if you feel as if you cannot go on, if you feel as if you cannot live through whatever you are facing, then learn to rely only on God no matter the end. (Isaiah 40:28-29) Yet be prepared: sometimes the Lord answers our prayers in unexpected ways.
After losing my mother to complications from cancer a week ago today, I understand this even better now. Though it was not what we prayed for, the Lord blessed us with almost two “extra” months with Mom after she miraculously survived emergency surgery at the beginning of August. This weekend, I listened to a sermon by Pastor Morris Venden called Fellowship of Suffering. If you have lost a loved one or if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you need to listen to this message. Here is a powerful snippet:
“It just might be that God has a greater need for people who have enough faith not to be saved or delivered or healed. He might need more of that group than the group that has the faith to be healed. […] Why?
Because there is something far bigger than getting our prayers answered the way we wish. There is a great controversy going on and God needs a big Honor Guard who will continue to love Him and trust Him regardless of what happens to them. So that the devil’s charge is not founded at all that people serve Him and love Him for what they get out of Him.
And it is about time we got over this thing of thinking that ‘if you had enough faith, you’d be healed’. No, if you have enough faith, you might not be healed. You might join the Honor Guard instead.”
Relying only on God means fully, completely leaning on His strength no matter the situation, no matter the cost, no matter the end. Yes, even unto death. For this world is not our home, and there is something far greater in store. May every deed we do, every word we say — even in the midst of our greatest trials and deepest sorrows — point to the love of the Lord Jesus so that others will see His light shining through us and learn to love Him, too.
Friend, that is our purpose and our privilege. To love God with all of our hearts, souls, strength and mind and, because He first loved us, show this love with all of those we meet. (Matthew 22:36-20) May we be able to sing His praises always. Glory to the Father! Glory to the Son! And to the blessed Spirit!
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
- Jenny Lynn
- Gina of Stories by Gina
Continue reading this series:
His Encouragement: But the Lord directs his steps