I was talking with my therapist the other day about some challenges I’ve had lately. She assured me that my feelings were normal, and we discussed some ways to alleviate my heaviness. I knew her advice presented some healthy ways to move forward, but I insisted that I’m tired of processing hard things. And then she said words believed years ago were from the Bible - “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. She has a church background but is open to many forms of religion, so I wasn’t surprised when she offered that reassurance. Her heart was in the right place, but her message fell flat.
After the session, I thought about how many times we’ve all heard Christians use this exact saying. Although shared with good intentions, the words are simply untrue. They fall short for people carrying weighty burdens - a health crisis, grief, a prodigal child, the loss of a job, along with many other things. The idea that we’re solely responsible for working through devastating situations without help can be so damaging.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t ignore our pain or abandon us to handle heartache alone. He directs our attention to the work He has done, not the work He expects us to do on our own because we’re “strong enough” to get through difficulties without help. David writes in Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Trusting Him isn’t easy; trusting ourselves leads to a false feeling of security. But the reminder that He doesn’t leave us alone can bring comfort and peace to a hurting heart. Releasing the things that overwhelm us, even if it’s a daily or moment by moment turning over of our challenges to Him, brings true healing and help. After all, Isaiah 9:6b directs our attention to who Jesus is - our “ Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Let’s stop this well-meaning but false platitude and start pointing ourselves and others to who God wants to be in the midst of life’s trials. If you are in a season where it feels difficult to trust the Lord, please don’t go through it alone. Reach out to the people you trust to remind you of His promises. If you don’t have someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to send me a message; I’d be happy to listen to and pray for you.