Last week, a friend posted a deal-i-o on Facebook that I instantly shared with a “YES” comment. Many FB friends shared it, so it must have touched on a nerve. It touched on a nerve with me too.
The next morning, the deal-i-o was still giving me thoughts, so here they are. Incidentally, the same friend who shared the deal-i-o also shared a fantastic (and somewhat cynical) blog post about the deal-i-o on Monday. I highly suggest that you read it. I started this post over the weekend but just wrapped it up today. She encouraged me to publish it even though it was so close to her post date. I love encouraging friends!
God doesn’t give bad things.
There is seriously so much wrong (in my opinion) with the statement, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Right away, we are grabbing onto the idea that God is giving us all of the trials we encounter. In fact, it would seem to me that we give ourselves some of our trials, we give each other some of our trials, and illness – a physical side-effect of spiritual sin being in the world – gives us most of the others. I have never believed in the kind of God who sits in heaven trying to decide which of us should have cancer based on who can “handle it.” Hello!?!? Even the book of Job is more about getting us to learn how we deal with trials…not realize that all of our trials come from God.
What is more than we can handle?
Most of our lives seem to be recipes for disaster. We over-commit ourselves in all areas of our lives, and we leave little room for margin. When the tough things come along, our schedules have no room to handle anything. A change in my schedule is more than I can handle. Getting a cold sends me into a tizzy. Anything more than that is seriously more than I think that I can handle. And who is to say that I can handle less than you can? Where does this phrase come from? Why have we integrated it into our line of thinking?
How do we view God?
I have sat in many prayer circles over the years. There is a rare person in the circle who gives time to praising God for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He will do through us and for us. Most of us treat our personal and corporate prayer times like a McDonald’s drive through window.
“I’ll take one healing of cancer with a side of extra healing for my dog, please.”
We forget that, though capable of our physical healing, God is more concerned with our relationships with Him and others as well. The healing that Christ offered while here on earth was equal or more parts spiritual, emotional, and relational over the physical healings that He performed. While God cares about us (consider the birds of the air…), God is far more concerned with the state of who we are than of how we are.
God created us for community.
God intends for us to celebrate with others (think birthday parties and weddings) as well as to mourn with others (think funerals). In the in between of those kinds of moments is real life. God created us to live life together – to play hard, to cry with each other, to listen well, and to encourage one another.
Before crisis hits, we need to take stock and prepare.
- Get in community and start supporting each other.
- View the trials of others as trials alone as opposed to consequences of decisions or “gifts from God.”
- Create margin in life to both take in our own trials as well as to assist in the trials of others.
Consider ways that we can help each other in crisis.
- Coupons for pizza delivery or groceries
Be ready to accept help from others.
Someone commented on my shared post of the picture above that people have to be willing to be helped in order to get help. Ya sure. You betcha. Maybe we would all be more willing to take help if we have done a good job of giving the kind of help that actually helps.
Just bring a pizza!
Idle promises of “praying for you” (and then we often forget to do so) will sound much more like promises if we just bring a pizza to their house and say instead, “I have been praying for you, and I thought this might help ease some of the burden. I’ll be by next week to fold laundry if you would let me do so.”
It’s not easy, though.
I know that I sound like I’m chastising us, and I might be just a little bit. I am not any better at this than the next person – on either the giving or receiving of help side of things. When my mom died over a decade ago, one of the best things that a friend did for me was to bring me clothes for the funeral from (where we lived at the time) Minneapolis, MN, to (where the funeral was held) Grand Forks, ND. I will never forget that generous act. Even if we are not comfortable going to someone’s house to fold laundry, something as simple a gift card for gas to help defray the cost of cancer treatments or for groceries to help ease the blow of losing a job will be a big help to those going through a trial.
Let’s look around today and consider how we can help each other. That is what we are meant to do.