Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Too Much to Bear or Not?

The Scripture says in Exodus 13:17-18, when Pharaoh let the people of God go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was the shorter route.  For God said, if they face war they might change their minds and return to Egypt.  So God led the people around by the desert road towards the Red Sea.    God knew that if He had taken the Israelites the shorter journey they would have to “fight” and since He knew what was in them, He chose not to put them through that and them another way.

There is a Scripture that is often misquoted from the Bible, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” (1 Corinthians 10:13a).  This Scripture is often used in the context that God knows how much we can bear, at that alone.  But if you take the whole Scripture, what it represents is God’s hand that is able to make a way of escape, because He knows our temptations.  He knows what will get us into trouble or a bad place, so He makes a way for us to get out of it, before we even get in it.  God knows how much we can bear, for sure.  He knows what we can handle without breaking. He knows how much we can take.  He knows how much He can turn up the flames in our lives or allow the enemy to do so, without us being destroyed.   And since He knows, He will not allow us to go through more than we can bear…. OURSELVES. 

In our own strength we are nothing.  We can do nothing. For the Scripture says nothing is possible without God.  Even those times when we feel as though it is more than we can bear, God says, “It's not more for Me.  It's not too much to bear for Me.”  So when He brings us to those times, God wants us to rely on Him.  To rely on His strength.
After our dear son, Joseph died, I was strong for a minute.  My children, my husband, my family, friends and others were looking at me for strength.  And it was all good for a little bit.  But there came a point where I had no more strength and I felt like dealing with the death of my son and trying to help others deal with it, was too much of a burden for me to bear.  And that is when I realized I could not do in my strength.  I had to rely on the strength of God to see me through this tragedy.  And once I did, peace flooded my soul, like a river.  Oh yes I still cry, nearly every day.  But I get through the day, relying on God.

If we're walking in our own strength, God in His sovereignty, knows when we won't be able to take anymore.  He knows that some of us will turn away from the faith, and call it quits.  That we will stop doing what we know to do is right and go according to the way that seems right.  And He knows that way is death.

God knows when enough is enough.  He sees our struggles.  He sees our pain.  He sees our suffering.  And in His still small voice, He says to us, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Just like the children of Israel, when their burden got to be too much, God will either redirect our steps or He will remind us that He is with us and all we need to do is to look to Him.  To look to the hills from whence cometh our help.  To look up and see the salvation of the Lord.  That is when He may continue to allow the burden, because then He knows we will turn to Him and seek His face.  We will spend more time with Him, acknowledging just how much we need Him.

God has to put on us more than we can bear.  And the Truth is He does, because it is the only way that He can stretch us sometimes.   It is only then that we can exercise our faith... the size of the mustard seed He has given us.  How else would we know that we are walking in faith if we never have to take a step of faith.  Right NOW, in your face faith, if we don't get a chance or something that challenges us to act in faith.  Looking to God, of course, as the Author and Finisher of our faith. 

Sometimes God puts on us more than we can bear, to see just how much we are going to trust Him.  To believe Him.  Will we rely on His strength to get us through or will we rely on our own?

God knows the answer and it is telling or a testimony against our faith, in what He does.  Will He allow the storm or will He redirect it?  He knows (and you should know) whether or not you have the faith to withstand it.

Like I said those are times when God does not put on us more than we can bear, because He knows our breaking point.   He knows when we think we are pushing the envelope.  He knows how to push the envelope.   He knows that some of us are not Job.   That we will do what someone suggests, like Job’s wife did, curse God and die.  Being like the Israelites, choosing instead to go back to the leeks, garlic and onions.

But He also knows this...  He knows who is His.  He knows who He can brag on (you might not know it).  He knows what you will do, and who you will become as a result of pushing the envelope, climbing that mountain.  A faith giant, just like Abraham and those written in the hall of faith.  

He knows who will look to Him and cry out and say, “Lord, I can't do this BUT I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.  I can't bear this load, but I'm looking to you as the One who can, who says to me, cast your cares upon Me, because I care for you.  Take of My yoke, because My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  God knows.  And all He wants us to do when we get to those breaking points is to look unto Him.  In all situations, look to Him.  Cry out to Him.  See Him at work.  By faith.

We can see Him challenging us.  We can also see Him holding something else back, knowing that things can be worse.  That's faith.  Giant faith.  And we must know that we can't put God in a box.  God does not always do things the same way.  His ultimate purpose is the same.  His divine will is the same. That we will be conformed to the image of His Son.  His permissive will might change.  What He allows or doesn't allow in a moment’s time, depends on who we are and what He wants us to learn.  We can never guess what God wants to do through any given situation.  But we do know that He wants us to operate in faith.  Always.  Without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord.

But we can ask, and come to know that whatever it is, it is for the good.  And one thing for certain, if it is more than we bear, it is not our load to carry.  So we need to rely on the only One who can.  For it is only when we can't bear the load, the strength of Christ can kick in and He becomes everything that we need and more.

God is real. And He is the real burden bearer.  

A servant of the Lord,

Sis. E

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