We often hear parents tell their kids ‘you can be anything you want’ in regard to their future and careers. It may be good to open their eyes to possibilities and give them hope, but it also may not be entirely true. Not every child will get straight A’s and get in to every school they want and get a perfect job (no job is perfect). We all face disappointment at some time. We all have limits. This past week has been one of the most challenging in recent memory. It was not one catastrophic thing, but a series of events that tested the limits of what I thought I could handle in a day and over time. Without going in to too much detail…my wife was gone for 11 days, I was in charge of 2 young kids, they got sick, got medicine, got worse, I got sick, the cat is nearly dead, work deadlines loomed, my father had health issues and is still in the hospital. Granted, things could have been worse and there is an end in sight to some of these challenges, but in the midst of them, I felt like I was overboard, even after receiving help.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2
Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? Whether it is more at work, overindulged in a hobby, kids in more activities than you can keep up with, or whatever you find yourself drowning in, you realize you have over committed. It may not even be things you have chosen, but responsibilities imposed on you by someone else. In the midst of the chaos, you may stop and ask – What am I doing? Why am I doing this? or Am I doing the right thing? Just questioning your actions may help point you in the right direction. Maybe it is starting to say no to things that are not necessary, to improve your ability to do the things that are necessary. Maybe it is putting down your pride and asking for help in a season of need. Maybe it is trusting in God to help you endure a difficult time in your life. It may feel impossible in the midst of a time of struggle, but there is hope, even to the point and beyond death.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
We often hear that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. This is true when it comes to temptation, as he gives us a way out, but not when it comes to trials. Do we know how much we can handle? Not unless we have been tested. I believe often, he lets the natural consequence to events play out to what we believe is our detriment, and in reality, just reveals the true nature of our hearts. We find out what we are made of and the limit of our abilities when the pressure cooker is on. If what comes out of difficult situations is frustration, anger, and despair, then you are putting your hope in your own abilities instead of the one who made you. When you are pushed beyond the limits of your own abilities and resources, you grow and are forced to trust in someone other than yourself. You are being refined.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
Limitless? No, we all have limits to what we can do, though we often do not know what they are until we are tested. Many times, the limits we perceive are often self imposed as we say “I could never do that.” Instead of navel gazing and complaining in the midst of our difficulties, we need to look up, look beyond this momentary thing to the one who transcends time and death. Christ is our example and the one who went before us, enduring more than we could imagine through the cross and beyond death. He is our advocate and offers that same strength to us in our time off need. Where we have limits, he does not!
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
Strength and Courage in Christ,