It feels good when we see it written on wall hangings or read it in a greeting card, but there’s just no truth in it. I’m not sure who started telling the lie about what we can expect from God, or when we started believing it, but at one time or another, most of us bought into it. “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Hogwash.
God definitely gives us more than we can handle. We should expect it.
A day of Thanksgiving looms large on calendars of most of my readers. I don’t mean to leave those out who call another country other than the United States home, because I LOVE to know global friends are reading. But this is Thanksgiving week here, so people where I live are ramping up for a feast of turkey and a generous helping of being grateful. But sometimes that’s a stretch. When I make a mental list of all the hardships women I know have trudged through during this year alone, I am undone. I’ve had a few really low moments/days/weeks in 2014 myself. Sometimes thanks is a hard fruit to bear. But what was I expecting? What were you expecting?
I guess I was expecting life to be easier. Were you? For good people to hurt less. For faithful people to be healthier. For couples who get married to easily bear children. For people in the church to more more like Jesus. For dutiful wives to have devoted husbands. I know God says we’ll have trials, but do they have to be so hard? If I can’t expect God to make it easier, what can I expect from God?
About this time, I’m feeling like a whiner, which is not attractive at all. You might even be considering unsubscribing (oh, please don’t … hang in there). I’m in good company, though, since holy heavy hitters like Moses, Abraham and Elijah did their fair share of godly grumbling. Even King David said, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.” (Psalm 69:1-2)
So if expectations of an easier life aren’t realistic, what CAN we expect from God?
- We can expect He cares about our trouble. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
- We can expect He will give us rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
- We can expect He will give us grace and power. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)
- We can expect He will be with us in the hardest times. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
In his book The Land Between, Jeff Manion says, “A heart of bitter complaint is anchored in the suspicion that God is stingy – that he will hold out on you. But a heart of trust is anchored in the belief that God is good and will provide for you out of an inexhaustible reservoir of generosity.” Life can’t be perfect in a fallen world. God allows life to be hard so we will draw near to Him, depend on Him, and experience Him as we only can in the hardest places of life.
We can expect God to be with us when life is hard, because sometimes it is, and for His presence, I am thankful.
I’m so thankful for the readers at Come Have a Peace. When I see that people have opened their email post, read a newsletter, or commented out of their hearts in a private message or public comment, I am humbled and grateful. Not just sayin’ that. I am grateful.