Monday, April 30, 2012
More than we can handle.
I've learned some life lessons in the past couple of years. One big one is that each individual person has their own unique struggles and trials. And each person deals with them differently, with different levels of tolerance. In our church, we often hear the saying, "God will not give us more than we can handle." I'm guessing this saying stems from scriptures like Mosiah 4:27: "...it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength," or 1 Corinthians 10:13: "[God] will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able." Neither of these scriptures, when applied within context, really apply to situations of human suffering, such as stress, joblessness, illness, or death. But we like to reassure ourselves with the saying anyway.
But I'll say this. The Megan of three years ago was not able to handle her baby boy's death. The Megan of two years ago was not able to handle a child with special needs in her life. But the Megan of today is. Or at least she's doing her best, and she's still here, so I'm going to generously state that she's able to handle it. I'm thinking that God lets life happen to us, and life sometimes gives us more than we can handle. But God helps us become people who can handle those things.
So it's definitely not for me to judge when someone else is going through a trial that seems insignificant compared to mine. Because at that point in their life, it is more than they can handle. During my moments of grief over the past couple years, my mother never once said anything to the effect of, "It's really not that big of a deal. At least you're not dealing with _____." Even though she could have. Because my struggles have been nothing compared to hers. I've only lost one child. I only have one baby with special needs. That's just for starters.
And I quietly hope that my friends and acquaintances aren't hesitant to share their trials with me for that reason. Because grief needs to be shared, and I like to think I'm a pretty good sounding board. I want to listen to them gripe about how difficult that job search/house remodel/acute illness/bad hair day is. Because life is really hard, and it's usually not the huge things that make it that way. I really get that. And just because I have gained some extra perspective in the last couple years, that doesn't mean I don't struggle with things that pale in comparison to the big things.
So those big trials? The ones that make you think: This is it. This has to be the biggest thing I'll ever face. We all have them on varying levels. So for my imaginary friend Jane, Trial X is the one that rules her life right now, and it's more than she can handle. I don't understand Trial X. I've never gone through it. But I can definitely understand going through a trial I can't handle. It's the hardest thing imaginable, and it doesn't matter if there's a huge number of people who have been through Trial X, and more. When you're going through a trial like Trial X, whatever that might be for you, you don't care. So, for that reason, I feel for her, regardless of how her one big trial compares to mine.
Life is hard. Sometimes more than we can handle. But if we make it through, we become someone new. Someone who can handle it. And I'm sure God knew all along that we could.