One morning, after being woken up and trying in vain to get back to sleep, I headed out to the living room to read my Bible for awhile. I read Acts chapters 21-24 and was really encouraged by the stories of the Apostle Paul. These chapters tell about Paul's imprisonment over a course of several years and his appearance before several prominent leaders of the times to "plead his case".
It struck me that by holding him in prison and taking him from place to place, Paul's accusers may have thought they were silencing him and the message that he was spreading. After all, they'd got him off the streets and away from citizens who may be swayed by his teaching. Yet, on the contrary, God was using Paul's time in bondage to witness to some of the highest ranking authorities in the land.
Acts 23:11 confirms the Lord's hand in this: "But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, 'Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.' "
This encouraged me in the thought that when we dedicate our lives to God and to his service, we never have to be afraid of where we "end up". Whether it be at a job site, at home, or (hopefully not!!) in prison, God's directing hand will always place us exactly where he wants us.
A lot of people like to quote what they think is a Bible verse: "God will never give us more than we can handle". That's not necessarily the idea and those words in that order are not actually found anywhere in scripture. What people are probably referring to is a misinterpretation of 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."
The Bible is not saying that God will never give us more than we can handle---just ask Paul or Jeremiah or Job and you'll find that there are examples over and over in the Bible of those who were given more than they could bear on their own. What Paul is saying is that God will not give us more than we can handle with him. As long as we are in right relationship with God and attempting to walk within his will, we will be able to recognize him right there beside us, guiding and directing through the most difficult of circumstances.
Paul describes God's provision of help in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9: "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."
Many of us will go through trials of different sizes and severities and many of them will be impossible for us to bear on our own. We are very weak children. However, we have a great big God who delights in carrying us through the impossibly stormy times. What better place to be than right within the will of God!
This article was published in Issue #88 of The Christian Home magazine.
Wisdom Wednesdays @ Simply Helping Him