I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone say “God will not give you more than you can bear.” The verse often quoted is 1 Corinthians 10:13, but Paul is speaking only about temptation. “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.” (ESV) Even in temptation, God just promises a way of escape.
I have had cancer three times, but the first was the worst. I was given a twenty percent recovery prognosis, and my children were 5 and 8. I wanted to be alive to watch them grow up. God gave me verse after verse to cling to for hope. I held onto God tightly. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NIV) The Bible was my fortress, but not my way of escape. In Hebrews 13:5 God promises “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (KJV) Even when there isn’t a way of escape, God is still there comforting us.
Chemotherapy was unbearable as well, but God gave me strong family members and good friends. They took care of my children and spent time with me during the good days when I wasn’t throwing up or in the hospital. That summer I was tanned and looked like the picture of health. I wasn’t well, but I had people who knew how to love. God gave me people who loved me as a comfort.
Lonnie and I will be married 42 years this July. I can’t imagine life without him, but it wasn’t always this way. I remember a time when we considered divorce. God gave us a counselor that helped guide us through that difficulty. Sometimes God gives you a pastor, a friend, or a counselor to show you the way when you get lost from His will. A counselor was our comfort that God gave us.
When people are hurting, don’t assume they can handle it on their own. God put you in their lives for a reason. Isaiah 1:17 says
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (NIV)
God is love. If we want to become more like Jesus, we must learn more and more how to love others instead of just expecting them to “get over it.”
We all love those stories about people who beat all the odds and do the miraculous on their own. Sometimes we almost have a contempt for people that are depressed or can’t seem to find their way out of a situation. We want to believe we are strong because strong is magnificent, and weak is, well, just sad. But we have a responsibility to love each other during the good times and the sad times. Just like the vows between a husband and wife, Christians have a responsibility to love like Jesus Christ.