If one more person tells me "God won't give you more than you can handle" - really? I've had countless times in life when I've had way more than I could handle. And yes, sometimes, it's just as minor as the jar of peanut butter falling off the counter crashing to the floor just as I am about to load the crabby children in the car for school as we are running late and I can't find the car keys. And sometimes it's as huge as a devastating heartbreak, the death of a loved one, or a massive tragedy that burns all you have to the ground.
That tired old phrase feels more like a taunt than encouragement. It eludes that I can't measure up. It pokes that I am needlessly creating drama. It supposes that I am making a mountain out of a molehill. And it definitely assumes that I am stronger than I may be believing at the moment of impact. At the moment, at that specific time, the mountain is the mountain and the drama consumes. And it is a strain to keep it together and a struggle to guide my heart to understand it.
The truth is, God never said he would not give you more than you can handle. Because if he did say that it would completely eliminate your need for Him.
"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." 1 Corinthians 10:13
Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them that God will not allow them to be tempted beyond what they can handle and that when facing extreme temptation, God will provide a way out. In the"I can't handle this" moments we are faced with temptation. We are forced to make a choice. Blurt out the expletive - or whisper prayer. React with extreme outrage - or keep a gentle demeanor. Participate in the sin - or seek advice and counsel. When we fully realize that life will give us more than we can handle we find a promise: God is faithful to meet us in the mess and press into us in the inconvenience.
"In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John16:33
As a child of God, there certainly will be troubles to face, but Jesus told us, do not be surprised when they come. An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble and temptation. Instead, God provides deliverance in trouble and temptation, which is very different.
As a new Christian, it was not my nature to be patient and in peace during annoyances. It was not automatic to pray first, before cursing. It was not my nature to guard my heart before jumping headfirst into an inappropriate reaction. I was pouring from an empty spiritual and emotional cup, and what spilled out was scarcity, fear, anger, and despair. When you come from that place, outcomes are dismal. Shame follows. Guilt lingers. And yes, the children saw all of that hot mess you just showcased in the kitchen. I had to reprogram my reactions. I had to learn a new language.
To learn new ways to respond to temptations I chose to saturate myself with the word of God. I wanted to discover his ways of handling life. I learned to be parented from him how to act in times of temptation. I needed his advice on navigating difficulties, large and small. To saturate means to cause (something) to become thoroughly soaked so that no more can be absorbed. Very much like a teabag.
When you make tea, you immerse a teabag into a cup of boiling water. The tea saturates the water until all the water is infused with the tea. At that point, we don’t call it water any longer; we call it tea. It is actually more water than it is tea, but the water has been saturated and changed. The water and tea can no longer be separated. The strength of the tea is determined by the length of the steep. This is what the word of God does to our hearts. When Christ comes into us and saturates us, we are changed. Christ becomes the life-giving Spirit and saturates our hearts until we cannot be separated from his likeness. Thus, giving us much better responses to temptations. God does not give us overcoming life, He gives us life as we overcome. The strength is in the steep.
When we are saturated, we become satiated. Satiated is satisfied to the full. It is to supply someone with as much as or more of something than is desired or can be managed. God gives us more than we ask. He fills us to overflowing, brimming, and above excess when we are submerged and immersed in our connection with him. In order to pour anything good into overcoming temptation, we must fill ourselves with quality emotions, thoughts, mindsets. The bible is jam-packed full of them. Saturate yourself to satiate your heart.
Below is a calendar for September. In my summer writing hiatus, I reimagined the value I hope to bring my readers, new and those yet to find me. Being a proponent of "practicing what I preach", I am saturating myself this month with His presence. If any of the events intrigue you, reach out to me. You are so very welcome to attend. And then - we can saturate ourselves with the gift of fellowship!