Continued from here.
Many years ago, a Youth Leader made a profound statement: he said that God is not a spiritual Santa Claus. This imagery helped me see how selfish I was being in my prayer life as I rattled off my “wish list” to God every morning, telling Him all of the things He needed to change in my life for me to be happy. I am happy in my life today, even though God’s answer to most of those wish list items was no. The more I mature spiritually, the less I experience God changing my circumstances and, instead, experience God changing ME. As I grow and change, the way I react to my circumstances changes.
One of the greatest misnomers I hear Christians say is that God never gives us more than we can handle. That’s simply not biblical. The cross was more than Jesus could handle. The lion’s den was more than Daniel could handle. The fiery furnace was more than the Hebrew boys could handle. Goliath was more than David could handle. The Mideonites were more than Gideon could handle. I could go on and on, and I’ll include myself in this list: being repeatedly raped as a child was more than I could handle, as was the grueling healing process from all of the childhood abuse.
In fact, every day, I face more than I can handle, but I am nevertheless joyful. God hasn’t made my life easy. Instead, He has taught me the secret to being content even as I’m facing more than I can handle:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
Why does God allow us to experience more than we can handle? Because it drives us into His arms. As long as I stay connected to God, I don’t have to worry about what happens – not that I’m comfortable in challenging circumstances, but I can be content. As I choose to be uncomfortable in doing whatever God says to do (humble myself in my marriage, obey laws I don’t like, forgive my enemies, etc.), God moves in my life by CHANGING ME. As I change, my circumstances change in response. This process takes effort and sacrifice, but it’s worth it … not only to bear fruit that bless others, but I get to experience intimacy with the Creator of the Universe!
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace carrying lots of presents. Courtesy Bitmoji.]