We hear (and say) a statement often that goes something like this…”God never gives us more than we can handle.” How many of us have said this in an attempt to be encouraging to those around us? Often it is out of a compassionate spirit we say this, but quite honestly it is a bunch of bunk, completely unscriptural. The Bible does tell us that He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13), but that applies to temptations that man is susceptible to, not everyday struggles and hardships. I believe we consistently encounter situations that are far beyond our capabilities. In fact, the Bible tells us that God chooses the ones who are not mighty, wise, or noble as to allow His grace to work in a way that is completely counter cultural to what the world knows (1 Cor 1:26,27). God uses the meek because He desires teamwork…He knows those who understand their limitations will look to Him for strength, wisdom, and companionship. He knows there is far greater joy in overcoming obstacles together, rather than alone.
This blog post has been stiring in me over the past two weeks. The company (family) I am blessed to be a part of embarked on a journey of making some significant technological changes. We knew this would not be easy and would require every employee to rally in order to pull it off, but we also understood it was a necessity. The last year was about preparation for a single weekend where significant change would be made…that was last weekend. Without going into great detail, we accomplished the goal and will continue to refine the new system, but like any significant change, it came with significant challenges. This post is not about the details of what occured, but rather it is meant to focus on our human nature during times of significant stress and change; specifically what I learned from the experience.
There were three major stages I went through over twelve straight days of long hours…
- The calm before the storm
- The storm
- Peace in the midst of the storm
I am not sure when, but over my 41 years the Lord has instilled in me that I am nothing by myself, but with Him and those He surrounds me with, we are able to tackle any challenge we are faced with. My hope is found in Him alone; I am keenly aware that the storm gets really bad at times, but His light always shines in order to guide us through the roughest of seas.
The Calm Before the Storm…
The days leading up to the weekend were filled with lots of planning and even more prayers. I know that myself and others were commited to praying for this event. Leading up to the weekend, I would walk through the warehouse simply praying for our company and our people. There were times when I could physically feel His presence in the building…yes, God’s presence rests wherever His people are and cry out for Him, not simply within the church building. His grace is always abundant before the storms of life; it is preparation and a reminder of His faithfulness. Psalm 91:4 (TPT) reminds us that “His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under his covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.”
Remember, He never promises to save us from the storms of life, yet He always is there guiding us through the storms. The weekend was long, we accomplished a lot, just not all we had hoped to accomplish. So coming into Monday morning we were behind schedule and quickly being presented with the pressures of taking care of our customers. On a side note, there are so many things I love about our team, but one of the greatest attributes I respect above all is their desire to serve our customers. When you are behind and confronted with additional pressures at every phone call and conversation you can quickly become overwhelmed with the task ahead of you. The key is taking one hurdle, one challenge at a time. I am so thankful for God’s grace because I knew we would see the light soon, but as with any difficult situation it can take a toll on human emotions. I recall one tangeble example of His amazing grace…I was sitting in a co-workers office feeling overwhelmed. Not knowing how to pray, I sent a quick text to some close friends and simply asked them to pray. Within minutes, the pressure released and God’s peace overwhelmed me to the point of tears. Our Father LOVES us and is awaiting your call for help…He will wrap His arms around you and bring you comfort in the storm…all you need to do is ask.
Peace in the Midst of the Storm…
Much of life is a storm. There are constant pressures from the world around us…bills, kids, spouse, health, jobs, etc. I have come to the conclusion that I am extremely thankful for the struggles in life. Through the struggles I have gleaned more strength and wisdom than anything else. There is no book, no school, which can teach us what good old fashion struggles teach us. On Wednesday morning I walked into work and even though the pressure had not released and we were still behind, something changed inside of me. The turmoil and stress on the inside had left and all that was in front of me was a series of hurdles we needed to strategically take, one at a time. With every problem solved we were coming closer to our new normal and though we are not there yet, we are well on our way to the strongest our company and our team has ever been.
The deal is, if all we ever do is seek the easy way out and never learn to walk straight through a storm, we will never grow. When storms hit, we will not be prepared and resentment and fear will take over. We will NEVER reach the mountain tops that God has planned for us to climb. Life is full of storms, God never promised that we would be able to face them alone…He does however invite us to walk through the storms of life along side of Him. And when we do, we come out on the other side with a strength and confidence that only comes with being in communion with a loving, compassionate, and grace-filled God…my Father.
“Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.” (Psalm 23:4 TPT)