“When Job lifted his face to the storm, when he asked and was answered, he learned that he was very small. He learned that his life was a story. He spoke with the Author, and learned that the genre had not been an accident. God tells stories that make Sunday school teachers sweat and mothers write their children permission slips excusing them from encountering reality.”
-N.D. Wilson, Death by Living
It’s easy to fall into the temptation trap of resenting our place in the grand story of our lives. Through trial and difficulty, we often feel overwhelmed and get caught up in the “life is not fair” complex. Can I be honest with you for a moment? A while back, I was in the midst of my own personal storm. I was in Washington at a retreat, sitting down to eat dinner with a group of women. We began sharing our stories, talking about where we were at, and it was incredible that every young woman there seemed to be fighting quite the war. These strong warriors had battle scars from the illnesses, family issues, and broken relationships they had endured.
One of the ladies cracked open her bible, as we devoured our soup and pumpkin croissants, and read this verse that had reassured me many times before…
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”
-1 Corinthians 10:13
We’ve all heard people say it our entire lives…”God won’t give you more than you can handle.” However, I had an unfortunate lightbulb moment in the midst of my attempt for quick, easy comfort when she went on to read this very popular bible verse…
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
So basically, God won’t give us more than we can handle on our own. But here’s the kicker…we aren’t expected to do it alone in the first place. I don’t believe that we were made to “handle” the intense suffering and deep darkness that comes with the broken world that we live in. It would be a hopeless story if that was where God decided to leave it. And I’m not going to lie…there have been seasons in my life where these thoughts did leave me feeling a bit defeated.
But wait…there’s more to His story. There’s more to your story. We aren’t alone in this. In the heart wrenching moments, sorrow, loss, pain, confusion, doubt, we are given the opportunity to rely on Him. My Jesus Calling today began with these words…
“You can achieve the victorious life through living in deep dependence on me.”
I started this article by talking about the “life is not fair” complex. And to be completely honest with you, when it comes to our own selfish standards, sure…God is not “fair.”
“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch & The Wardrobe
Jesus was radical. He lived and loved in a way that was inspirational, but it terrified and angered many. God’s way is often uncomfortable. His stories aren’t a Disney movie or a cheesy Nicholas Sparks novel. His stories are real. I thank Him for that because we are real. I am real. I wouldn’t fit into His grand story if He were completely safe. We wouldn’t be used in mighty ways if He were completely safe.
Don’t get me wrong. God is good. But He is not safe. Scripture talks over and over again about the goodness of God. When I don’t understand, agree with or even see what He is doing, I know that Romans 8:28 is true…that He is good and that He works for the good of those who love Him.
His stories for our lives won’t lead to a predictable path. My life is completely different than I ever would have imagined it would be, but I love the journey…I am thankful for my role in the story. Perhaps you had hoped that the part God had for you would be easy, clean, and problem-free. The truth is, He may not want you on the sidelines. He may be preparing you to be a warrior.
He may be giving you more than you can handle…but I can promise you that you are not alone, and that if you accept your role in the story, it will be the most beautiful, significant, and magnificent thing you ever do.