Three quotes instantly came to mind while listeening to a psychologist friend tell me how God lead people to her for healing: “All politics are local;” “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own,” and the most infamous, “God will not give you more than you can handle.”
What a crock of shit, especially the last line.
Paul’s writing in Corinthians was meant to console, but try ripping those words to someone in pain and you may be in for a bad day. For instance how any of the following handle such words:
- Any of the 8.8 million jobs lost during the downturn;
- Homeowners of Live Oak, Florida who lost their homes during the latest tropical storm flooding;
- 32,000 homeowners evacuated from Colorado Springs due to the monster fire;
- A cancer patient;
- Someone suffering from divorce.
But wait a minute, that’s not really what the Bible says. It says you won’t be tempted beyond what you can bear. When Paul writes that God will not tempt us beyond our ability, he means that we are never in a situation where we have no other choice but to sin.
So, regarding handling situations more than you can bear. Basically, all I can really say is “stuff happens.” I can’t explain it. I myself can remember being in an accident and not being able to walk for a year and I currently live with Multiple Sclerosis each and every day. But like everyone else, I get up every day and continue forward. Ultimately, when we are at our lowest, God becomes His greatest.
A coworker recently asked me how I deal with the pain of MS so well. “Well,” I explained, “I simply reflect upon the moment, and remember that I am not having a bad day. My body is, but I am not.”
Of course I have ups and downs, moments of pain intermixed with relief. I forgive myself and continue on. There’s something magically healing about spending time with others who’ve had or are having painful experiences similar to your own. Often by holding someone else’s hand, by becoming their support, you’ll find your own pain lessens just a little bit.
When you shine a light to guide others on a dark road, your own way is also lit. The very nature of guiding is both very Christian and very Buddhist.