Can you believe this is our last week of our online study about managing our stress by abiding in Christ?
My deepest prayer is that God has spoken to your heart through my blog devotions, the book, and all the comments and linked up blogs from all our fellow sisters in Christ, and that you are beginning to feel a sense of peace that you may not have felt before.
Peace is available even in the midst of less than peaceful circumstances. And my sweet friend, “less than peaceful circumstances” will continue to occur. Scripture tells us in John 16:33 that in this life we will have troubles. It’s a given. In fact, even when we’re trying to focus on God’s peace instead of our less-than-peaceful circumstances, there may still come a time when you feel God has given you more than can handle. A time when your stress seems more than you can handle.
And it just might be. People often try to reassure us with the well meaning phrase of “God will never give us more than we can handle”, and I bet you’ve heard or been told that before. But the truth is, nowhere in scripture will you find that saying.
In fact, it says just the opposite. The disciples alone experienced so many countless troubles and serious hardships – physically-mentally-spiritually-emotionally- that it makes one wonder how they carried such heavy loads and managed to stay faithful and strengthened in the face of such never ending adversity. But we all know, they weren’t doing life alone. They had Jesus. And so do we.
But the confusion about the phrase “God will never give us more than we can handle”, most likely originates from 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (NLT) Notice this verse mentions temptations, not burdens.
Here Paul is saying we will never be ‘tempted’ beyond what we can stand up against in God’s strength, not that we will never feel burdened beyond what we think we are capable of handling. Because when we’re feeling the most burdened, is when we are most likely to call out to God and seek to hear His voice. And that puts us right where He wants us.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly experienced painful circumstances and adversities that I thought were more than I could handle. Times when I wasn’t happy with God about all I was going through. Times when I found myself wondering if God had in deed given me more than I could bear, unaware at the time it wasn’t even biblical. Wondering if the mistakes of my past would sting my heart forever. Wondering if the weight of the hurt that others inflicted upon me could ever be lifted. Wondering if the situations I was facing would ever end or be resolved, and doubting they could ever be used for God’s good, much less His good in my life. Sometimes even wondering if I might get crushed under the weight of my stress as I contemplated just wanting to give up hope entirely.
I love how The Message Bible reminds us what to do when we’re at the end our rope, and of God’s holy promise, that we find Psalm 55:22, “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin.” Here we see David complaining to God about the heartache and fear resulting from friends who had betrayed him and enemies who were after him. His burdens seemed overwhelming, and in utter despair he poured his concerns out to God. Yet what is so amazing in that in the same breath, we also see him choosing to pile those troubles onto God’s shoulders, committing to trust and believe He would bring victory and help him get through.
Our ‘enemies’ are probably different than David’s. Instead of people, they may be sin, regrets of the past, feelings of unworthiness, painful circumstances, or memories that haunt our souls. Our enemies may be stressful situations at work, hurtful co-workers, broken marriages, prodigal children, or financial worries. But like David, we too can find comfort and spiritual healing if we believe God is with us, patiently waiting for us to depend on Him and lay down the emotional weights we are shouldering.
As you’ve read in the book by now, I finally stopped trying to carry my burdens and do life in my own strength, and instead surrendered them all to God, and I hope that you are learning to do that as well. Although life isn’t always peaceful, let us always seek His peace in the midst of life, while remembering it is an every day battle. Although our struggles are different, there is one enemy we all share who is the enemy of God, and he is always going to be trying to pull us down one way or another.
So when we are feeling overwhelmed with the burden of problems or emotions, or frustrated and exhausted with life, let’s always remember that we have an important choice to make. We can either hold onto our negative emotions and frustrations or we can release them to Jesus. We can feel crushed under their weight, or we can surrender them for Him to carry instead. We can either trust in God’s provision and protection and seek His peace, or we can let the enemy of our soul cause us to be blinded to His love, grace and mercy.
Life can be hard. The past can grip our hearts. Memories can be painful. Burdens can feel heavy. Regrets can feel suffocating. Emotions can seem overwhelming. Situations can seem hopeless and more than you can bear. But God is capable of carrying all of those things so we don’t have to, and replacing them with peace, joy and purpose.
The real truth is, God will give us more than we can handle all alone, but it will never be more than He can handle.
Lord, I choose today to surrender my burdens once and for all, and trust You to carry them instead of me. And I praise You for being willing to do that, just for me. Free my heart from the weight of my problems and the regrets from my past. Fill me with peace and help me stand strong in Your strength alone. Thank you for dying on the cross so I could not only have eternal life with You, but abundant life here on earth. In your most Precious Name, Amen.
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THIS WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT TO WRAP UP OUR STUDY IS CHAPTERS 11 AND 12
As a little bonus today, as our study comes to a close, I want to encourage you to pray these scriptures throughout this final week, and to memorize at least one of them so that when you’re faced with the next stressful situation – which will in deed come – you can approach the battle with the weapon of scripture and fight for your victory right away.
1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)
Isaiah 41:13, “For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” (NLT)
Psalm 55:22, “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin.” (MSG)
A BRAND NEW SERIES STARTS MONDAY CALLED MEDIA MONDAYS, WHERE I’LL BE ADDRESSING HOT NEW TOPICS FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE! STAY TUNED!