Seattle — Day 25: You Cannot
Reflections — I really don’t like the phrase, God’s not going to give you something you can’t handle. It makes absolutely no sense to me, because when I look at my life, essentially everything that I’ve dealt with have really been things that I can’t “handle,” and when people talk about the word, they skew to a different light than said in the word (1 Corinthians 10:13). When people seem to use the word “handle,” it is often under the implication of a self-capacity or ability to manipulate or better yet to make use of puns, steer my own life and direction, regardless of scope. This of course is different than the Spirit alive in us in the midst of temptation as seen in Corinthians. (Additional comments on bottom for more). Here are some of the more explicit things that the Lord has thrown my way that I definitely could not “handle”: having a pretty much nonexistent, absent father, family living on well fare housing due to super low income, mother getting breast cancer, getting backstabbed by closest friend in middle school, suicidal thoughts as a child, loneliness, depression, immense social anxiety, vivid consistent nightmares through my adolescence, and more. We can keep going down the list of all the sufferings, hardships, tribulations that have been in life that I could not handle by myself, because believe me, I tried.
I can’t tell you how many times that I tried to fight though, to handle my own daddy issues by turning to the affection given to me by literally anyone, being older guys that I looked up to, women that I was attracted to, or even celebrities that I was drawn to. Or how I would try to work extremely hard in order to fight incredibly dark thoughts that would pervade my mind as a child, thoughts fueled by depression, loneliness, anxiety, suppression, only to get completely overwhelmed in my own weakness. There was a time when I as child struggled with reality perception, as I began doubting the existence of everything and anything that I not only saw, but also thought of and conceived in my mind. I remember sitting on a couch in my old house in around the 2nd grade I believe, wondering and doubting everything that was reality, losing my grip on what was even consider sanity, not even realizing that hours were slipping by as I sat in complete silence. The same house that I sat in was later lost, when my family due to financial issues and a mixture of pride to not receive help lost the house to a fore closure from the bank years after, leading to a separation of my parents (though not legally). When my mother got breast cancer, she hide it from me for months, not even telling my sister until several years had passed as to not “hurt her.” I couldn’t handle that, or any of this without Jesus.
“Our God is consistent, but He is also unpredictable. You never know what He’s going to do next, you always know what He’s like, but you never know what He’ll do next. God has called you to see the invisible and do the impossible. God has not called you to do the things you can do, but He’s called you to do the things you’ll never be able to do in a million years. You’re not able to do what God has called you to do — only He can do it — but He’s called you to live in His faithfulness, in His consistency, that He will come and do all the things that need to be done. So beloved, you cannot find security in what God is doing because God commits you to the impossible, He asks you to see the invisible, He calls you to do the outrageous: there’s no security in that place, there’s no security in what God is doing; there’s only security in who God is. This great God will throw us into situations beyond us with no other thought than His great heart, which will sustain us.” — Graham Cooke
He will give you things that you can’t handle. It’s foolishness to think otherwise. When we look at scripture, we see so many instances of people, who were desperate for God suffering immensely. Do I think that they could handle these things alone? Absolutely not. The reason why Moses was able to succeed in leading the people of Israel out of Egypt wasn’t because He was some God fearing boss that had all the power and confidence in the world. You would say that he had the least handling in this manner of things. He couldn’t speak well, he wasn’t what you would call bold, yet the word says this, that Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). His humbleness came from the fact that he acknowledged all of his weakness, that he couldn’t handle these things in life, that he couldn’t handle and sure as heck, didn’t want to handle the calling that the Lord was instructing him to. Lead me people Moses called the Lord, and Moses replies with I can’t do it. I’m too weak, I can’t speak, I’m too … and so on and so forth. He understood that he couldn’t handle it, yet God in His rich mercy replies, I AM WHO I AM and in sovereign love says I will be with you. What does Moses in response do? He goes.
This is what it’s suppose to look like guys. When we ask to know Jesus and that He may dwell in us, we’re literally putting on the green light for Jesus bring on the sufferings. For through sharing in his sufferings, we become more like Him and know Him in not only His death but His resurrection as well (Philippians 3:10). If Christ gave us things that we could handle, He wouldn’t need Him. If I could’ve gone through all the emotional, physical, financial, spiritual toil without Jesus, and knew that was the case, then I wouldn’t be here today, case and point. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand (Proverbs 19:21). All the while, if Christ was powerless to help me, then it would’ve have been pointless to call upon His name, since He would’ve been insufficient to carry me. Yet the word says that God upholds all things by the power of his word, and that through Him comes all things (Hebrews 1:3, Romans 11:36). No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power (Jeremiah 10:6). There is not only a great need for a Savior, but a great and mighty Savior for our need.
Let’s be honest, all of these things that have happened in my life were not things that I would be able to handle, or even the best of men without Jesus. What you would see instead isn’t the recovery from pain, scars that show the healing from wounds, freedom in revisitation for testifying, or character that is born from the endurance of suffering. What you would see is instead suppression, masks that hide all the failure from trying to prevail on man’s own two feet and two hands without Jesus, that is even at times hidden from man’s own perception. You would see people that think that are healed, yet are on the narcotics of their own pride and arrogance, slowly numbing away all sense of reality and validity in their lives, till inevitable death. Death, that is without Jesus. It was only through extensive revelation of my own lacking that Christ began speaking these words to me: You can’t do it by yourself. You need me. When I understood this, that’s when healing began, and not just suppression of all hurt. That’s when restoration of my soul began to take place, where Christ ministered so sweetly to show me my identity as a son and prince to of the Kingdom of God. That’s when He began developing my character to trust Him throughout the seasons of fruition and dryness. And I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing it is to know that in my lacking, where I can’t handle anything without Jesus, how light and easy this yoke and burden is that Christ calls me to everyday.
Even with more implicit things that you think you can handle, you can’t handle them without Jesus literally sustaining you through everything that you have. It’s his breath in your lungs (Isaiah 42:5), his food in your mouth (John 6), his life in our being (1 John 5:11), his sanity in our minds and even honor in our lives (Daniel 4:36). Without Jesus you can’t do anything, and without grace, we are helpless. Yet, there is grace, an abundance of it to underestimate it, so much so that we will never run dry of it. Everything that we are is by grace and through His mercy. You and I, we can’t handle anything in our lives, and that’s okay, because in our weakness, we get to boast and call upon the name of the Lord to be our strength, our perfect strength. We get to call upon the name of the Lord in your blindness and ask Him to be our vision. We get to shout and declare that He is King in our shame, and provider in our poverty. For it is through our understanding of our complete, that Christ can be our everything. God is in control. God is sovereign. God is all knowing. God can handle me, and sure enough, He can handle what He gives you. That my friends, is freedom.
“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”
— Psalm 34:15–22
I really cannot handle working at Amazon without the grace of God and His right hand sustaining me through this. I’m so prone to wandering, so prone to leave the God I love, so inclined to give in to my thoughts of inadequacy, yet He has sustained me. Please pray that He would continue to do so, as I depend on Him, as I cling on the cross. For it now I who even cling by my own strength, yet Christ who desperately is not letting go of me, and is empowering me to do the same. Please pray that I would have greater humility to understand more and more of the things that I think I’m able to do without Jesus, that I simply cannot do without Him. Pray that I become a man of prayer in all things, and all areas of my life. I want to depend on Jesus to even breathe, to even eat, to walk. Everything to be fair game before Jesus. Thank you.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” — 1 Corinthians 10:13
This is much different than the handling in the context of which people refer to it. There must be made clear that there is a massive distinction in you thinking that God’s not going to give you overbearing, heavy, responsibilities and tasks, place you in situations of persecution and more, of which you “can handle” verses the Lord allowing temptation to come your way, but never placing you in the midst of a potential sin where you wouldn’t have the opportunity to not choose Him. All of this is in the light that because you have Christ to look to in the midst of temptation, you can turn to Him, and choose Him over the would be sin. So all of this is in the light and referring to His grace and power, and not our own ability from our own merit, training, knowledge or power.