Has God Given Me More than I Can Bear?
By Dr. Chuck F. Betters
Question: I have so much pain in my life, I am at the end of my rope and feel that God has given me so much more than I can bear. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just die, to give up, than face one more day with such excruciating circumstances. Has God given me more than I can bear?
It is likely that God has given you more than you can bear. But hold on, don't accuse me of heresy yet. The promise we hold on to, is that in our helplessness, when we think we will not survive the pain, that it is more than we can bear, He is our help. When He promises that He will not give you more than you can bear, it is not because you have within yourself the resources to bear the pain, it is because, if you are His child, He promises to never leave you alone in your brokenness, that in the brokenness, He will reflect His power and grace.
Again, don't turn me off. Please don't conclude that I'm offering you clichés that are fluff and superficial. I speak from my own experiences in a place of despair.
When I was in the darkest place of my life, I sometimes cringed when well-meaning people offered me clichés such as "trust God" or "have faith" or even "God is good all the time." When we lost our 16-year old son Mark (our youngest child) in a car accident in 1993 even the Scriptures and the hymns seemed to mock us. I KNEW that God had given me more than I could bear. And yet, within clichés is often God's truth.
One day our congregation sang, "I surrender all, all to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all." I missed Mark so much and resented that he was gone. My heart cried out, "Do I really surrender all? I want my son back. Is that surrender?"
Years later, here I am, struggling to walk by faith trusting God by grace even though we have had to endure incredible pain, not only from the death of our son but cancer and numerous other forms of brokenness common to mankind. So, I understand the struggle of living by faith every day - but listen. God is sovereign and you can trust Him. He has entrusted this suffering to you. There are many nonbelievers who also suffer from extreme pain as you do. But one reason God has filtered this trial into your life is so that you might show the world the difference between how the Christian and the non-Christian responds to these trials. And even more, this trial is designed to drive you to the Cross, into deeper intimacy with Jesus. Paul declared that he wanted to experience the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings - through the power of the Cross. While our eyes are fixed on the end of the trial, God's are fixed on where we are right now, giving us the opportunity to know Him in a way that is unlikely when life is "good." These trials are designed to pull us deeper into His heart, to open our eyes and hearts to the great love He has for us. He calls on us to consider trials our friend - and why is that? Because in them we have the opportunity to learn how to endure, to view life through the grid of how to glorify Him, how to reflect Him to a broken world.
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine in his 30's learned he had a Stage 4 brain cancer. He had but a few months to live. One day he invited me to his home for lunch. He was nearly blind and growing more and more weary. As he sat across the table from me he said, "Chuck, I want to walk my girls (both preteens) down the aisle but I know I will not be able to do that. I need to ask you two questions." I assured him I would do my best to answer them. He looked me square in the eye through his sunglasses and with a sobering voice said, "Chuck, is God really Sovereign?" Not really stunned by this I responded, "Yes, you know He is." Then he raised an even more critical question. He said, "If God is sovereign, can I trust Him?"
He nailed the essence of true faith. God is sovereign and you can trust Him. The real question is, "Will you?" And the only way we can choose to trust God, is to get to know Him. How can you trust someone you do not know?
Our God invites your questions. Tell Him you are claiming 1 Corinthians 10:13 and that He promised He will not give you more than you can bear. But keep in mind as you read that verse this truth - what God really promised was the grace to endure the trial. He never promised to take it away. He doesn't promise to help those who help themselves, He promises that He is the only help for those who cannot help themselves.
Your trial, though it is for a season, cannot outweigh what God has reserved for you in glory. Until that day you must remain faithful in your pain. But do not misunderstand what remaining faithful means. I think that some of the most faithful people are those who are transparent in their struggles, who cry out to their Father, "Without You, I am hopelessly lost. I need You to be Who You promise You are." It is in the middle of our weariness and broken dreams and our pain we learn to trust. That is why I often say, "Pain is actually your friend since it teaches how to love and trust your God."
So rather than end your life, surrender it to the Master Who will surround you with His love and grace to endure.
In His grip,
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