Last week our youngest daughter had a 24 hour stomach bug. While her belly hurt and she was running for the bathroom, several times she looked at me and yelled, “Mom, I can’t do this! The pain is too much! I am sure I am going to die!” She is the most dramatic of our children. She didn’t have a fever, I knew that she wasn’t going to die from a stomach bug but I had to chuckle at her. I have felt the same way, but in much different situations, and if I was completely honest, I wake up and tell God the same thing everyday in my heart.
Many times when we see people doing things that are difficult, we say, “I couldn’t do that.” It’s an attempt to tell the person that they are strong and doing something remarkable, but it is a bit of a dig as well. LIFE is difficult. Not just a difficult circumstance. We can’t do THIS on our own. We can try, but it never works out very well.
After our daughter Tullie was born, I was at a party and a friend and I were talking, and she asked about how Tullie was doing. After I gave an update my friend said, “I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t have a child with special needs, it would be more than I could handle.” I sat their quietly, and just shook my head. I thought, “Well, I can’t do it. I didn’t sign up for this.”
Many people like to comfort people in difficult times with the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:13
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.
I’m not sure how this verse got to be the popular one to comfort people in their times of suffering, but it isn’t the right verse to use. We have taken it out of context in a serious way. What Paul is discussing with the Corinthians is habitual sin, it’s not about suffering in this life.
The truth is, instead, that God will always give us more than we can handle. That’s why God sent us His Son. If we didn’t have His Son we would be left to handle this life on our own. Jesus was sent to live a perfect life, to hold our sins in the wounds on His back, to bare the burdens of the world and to give us the hope of eternal life that is only found in Him.
I cannot survive this week, without the hope of the Gospel. It is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me going till I lay my head back down at night.
The Gospel frees us from having to bare life, because Jesus bares our sorrow, pain, grief and despair. It does not make life easier, but it does offer a comfort that can compare to no other.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (emphasis mine)
I may use this verse too much, but there is so much in it that I continue to go back to it. When we are God’s child, and we are in deep pain and suffering, and it is difficult to keep our eyes on Him, or cling to Him, or lean into Him, He will drag us and pull us and continually remind us of what is in store of us. He is preparing in our hearts an eternal weight of glory that is much heavier and more wonderful than we can imagine. While we are here, He will give us glimpses of that glory and we will feel the weight of it like a blanket in the midst of our strife. He will remind us that He has conquered sin and death and that we have been lavished with an incredible amount of unmerited grace, so that we may persevere.
In Him we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His GRACE which He LAVISHED upon us. Ephesians 1:7-8a (emphasis mine)
My hope is that we will continually remember that we cannot do this life without our Savior. We cannot walk these long arduous roads without Him to drag us in our moments of unbelief and carry us in our weakness.