When Life Gets Hard

God won’t give you more than you can handle…” Odd, I can’t seem to find that verse in the Bible. I’m guessing Job would take exception to that cliche. So would Joseph. Paul certainly did. “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself…” II Corinthians 1:8 Why would God allow him to experience hurt more than he could handle? Read on. “…so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” II Corinthians 1:9 Truth? Cancer is more than you can handle. So is infidelity. So is caregiving. So is rejection. So is death and loss and grief and prodigal children and 101 other life struggles. God doesn’t expect YOU to handle it. He expects you to hand it over to HIM. He doesn’t want you relying on your strength, but on His. If we keep walking around thinking “God won’t give me more than I can handle,” we’re setting ourselves up for heavenly disappointment. Good news? He beckons for your burdens, “Cast your cares upon Me…” I Peter 5:7 You will never know relief until you do. For this hard place, I have Jesus! –courageouslivingbooks.com

I take no credit for the powerful words written above. But these words really resonated with me so I saved them. The only credit I could find appears as Courageous Living Books, so I gratefully acknowledge them for this message. When I first read this a few years back I was struck by the many cliches we tell ourselves. The writer of these words referred back to some seriously impressive heroes of the faith to point out that no, we cannot always handle what life throws at us. We were never created to be that self-sufficient. We need Jesus! He is our hope, our Rock and Redeemer. Our hope lies not in ourselves but in the God who is always waiting to carry our burdens and set our feet on solid ground. The Apostle Paul said, ”But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” 2 Cor 4: 7, 8. We are the jars of clay, but the power to make it through comes as we reach up to God in prayer seeking His power and His presence to help us through, often one painful step at a time.

I paint a lot of paths, probably because one of my favorite Bible verses (maybe one of yours as well) comes from Proverbs 3:5, 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Thank you, King Solomon, for your wisdom that resounds through the ages. I may not know what lies in the distant future or even what decisions I may face tomorrow, but I acknowledge the One who knows all things. And it is to Him I entrust the outcome.

Lord, this world is often very hard! We are discouraged at every turn it seems. We truly want to do this life WELL and receive that powerful word from You at the end of our life, ”Well done, good and faithful Servant!” So we acknowledge we struggle and admit we wrestle with fear and uncertainty. We confess we are often faithless — but You, O Lord, are eternally faithful. We have no strength or wisdom in ourselves, but You promise not only wisdom, but your strength and power, if only we’ll ask it of You. So we ASK, Lord! Help us to REMEMBER and to RELY on You when the going gets hard. We can’t do life without You.

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even

youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Searching for Beautiful

Looking for Beautiful

I painted this from a photo I took while in Bisbee, Arizona about five years ago. What a charming little mining town it is! We were walking down the old streets near the Copper Queen Hotel and I saw the most beautiful garden. It just screamed Paint Me! You can’t tell anything about the location by looking at this painting. My camera captured a tiny sliver of a moment in time. I found the beautiful because I was looking for it and I chose to ignore everything else around it when I painted it.

This is a reminder to me to focus on what is positive and good. The Apostle Paul, brilliant man that he was, said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.Phil. 4:8

There is a lot of opportunity to be frustrated or anxious by events happening in our world. We have to sift through a lot of noise and despairing views to find beautiful lately. The not so beautiful seems to get way more attention. But we have been called to think about what we think about. Maybe we have the opportunity to bring joy with acts of kindness and compassion. We can also seek to acknowledge kindness in the actions of someone else by speaking a blessing over them.

There is opportunity in every direction to be in opposition. Sometimes we must take a stand. But it is more important to be loving and grace-filled than to be “right.” We can be right and be hateful. But Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 We are to love. It is hard in these days where right is now considered wrong, truth is now hidden, and dark calls itself light. But Truth will win out. And shining the light of Christ’s love is our primary mission statement.

Heavenly Father, help us to watch for Your hand at work in our world. Please help us to reflect Your love in our lives as a beacon of hope to others. And help us to spend more time searching for beauty and truth than despairing about ashes and chaos. “…provide for those who grieve a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3

Help us to love one another as You first loved us, Lord, and help us to focus on the beautiful.

Bisbee, Arizona
Cheryl