Monday, April 11, 2011

Faith and Obedience

Many times I have heard the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
But I am not convinced that this is actually an accurate statement. If I could handle everything that comes my way, I would have significantly fewer opportunities to put my faith in God.  After all, if I’ll never get more than I can handle, then it would be pretty easy to put my faith in myself.  No worries, God, I’ve got this one!

No, I absolutely believe that we are given more than we can handle ourselves. There comes a point when all you can do is give it to God and trust him.  And to be honest, when I look back at the things I have tried to handle on my own in the past, I am quite happy to admit that there are some things that God is better off handling because, well, he’s God and I’m not.

I am in one of those places in my life right now. With finances very tight, a house that is barely big enough for our family as it is, and a poor housing market, we have recently found out that we are expecting another child. And I am realizing that while, yes, there are some things we can do, we are going to have to trust God in a major way. Financially, long-term, this is a situation that is beyond our control. It is more than we can handle on our own.

Normally the realization that I cannot make it happen for myself would stress me out. But now I am seeing the beauty in surrendering to God and having faith in him to work in our situation in the way he sees fit. I know he will come through. Perhaps our house will sell, perhaps we will have just enough to get by, perhaps we will have more than enough, or perhaps God will give us the patience and fortitude we need to get through a challenging time. In what particular way he will come through, I do not know, but I know that he is faithful, he knows what we need better than I do, and I trust him.

Along with this faith and trust, though, is the willingness to listen and obey. Faith and trust are not passivity and laziness cloaked in clever spiritual-sounding terms. I must spend time in prayer, not only talking, but also listening. Is there something God wants me to do? Something he wants me to give up? Something he wants me to change? Then I must hear him and obey.

I cannot handle everything that comes my way, not on my own. But by experiencing situations that are beyond what I can handle, I am learning to put more faith in God, to listen more closely to his voice and to trust him to guide me. And, because I believe he is a good shepherd, I believe he will do what he knows is best for me, even if that doesn’t look the way I expected it to look.

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