His death had been expected for months, but it didn’t make it any easier. As she sat, watched, and waited she couldn’t help but think about the 54 years of her life spent next to her beloved father. In his final breath, the realization that she would never see her dad again became too much. Though they had seen this coming for sometime, it didn’t make it any easier. As he took his last breath in this life and breathed his first in the next, she began to crumble. The tears grew from a trickle to a flood and the emotions went from numbness to heartache. It was more than she could handle.
God never said he wouldn’t give me more than I can handle…God always meets me in the middle of my mess so that His great power is displayed in my life.
As I back up from these experiences as a Pastor, and look into the lives of the people I walk beside, I’m always amazed at how God seems to meet many of them right in the middle of the mess, even if it is not seen or felt in the moment. Even in death, God is still good. The human experience is one frought with a mixed bag of feelings. There are certainly days of great joy, happiness, and contentment, but what about the others? What about the days where it all seems too much? In my early years, I found myself telling people that God would never give them more than they could handle. But as truth and experience won the day, I’ve found myself telling people just the opposite.
This often quoted quip is meant to bring comfort and peace to the one on the receiving end of the tragedy, but is it true? The Psalmist cried out in Psalms 121:1 and stated, “From where does my help come?…It comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” If God never gave me more than I can handle, then it would set me up in a position where I wouldn’t need God. The gospel teaches just the opposite. God never said he wouldn’t give me more than I can handle. In fact, He regularly gives me more than I can handle, so I would ferociously push into the goodness of Jesus. For Jesus is infinitely better than my circumstances. Whether it be in death, disillusionment, or dishonor, He is always better. With a greater picture of the gospel, I’m forced to understand that God always meets me in the middle of my mess. He does this so His great power is displayed in my life for He is the one who provides my help, and He is one who grants my rescue.
After several minutes had passed, the daughter of the deceased father, began to take hold of something profound. That profoundness didn’t lie in her ability to manage the situation or even control her emotions. Rather, it rested in an eternal truth found only in the gospel. That truth displayed itself in her desire and verbal testimony to use her dad’s death to show that God gives us more than we can handle, so we will push into Jesus. She followed the thought by saying, “That is what I want, to wear Jesus like a coat, to witness to His goodness to my family and friends even in death. ” That my friends is the gospel. That is a picture of God’s glory. Therefore, let us press in to Jesus when we are overwhelmed and let us let Him turn our mourning into joy and our sorrow into peace.