“God won’t put more on you than you can bear . . . NOT”
This past week another New York City policeman committed suicide, the fifth officer to do so in two months. Hearing about this on the news, I was reminded once again why this phrase about “not facing more stress than one can bear” has been misused by well-meaning Christians. I guess it is supposed to bring comfort and encouragement when someone is going through a difficult period in their life. But to me, it is first of all bad theology, and second, a bad translation of I Corinthians 10:13, which is about temptation, not dealing with overwhelming circumstances in life.
There is a reason there are so many support groups in our culture today. Life is hard. Certainly the church can and should support those who are dealing with tragedy, loss, uncertainty, discouragement and all the things that can cause one to become overwhelmed and lead to a feeling of hopelessness. But our support is to walk with them and be with them, not to offer patronizing and trite phrases.
In yesterday’s sermon on prayer, we were reminded that even though we want to be self-sufficient, we are not. We need to rely on God, because the reality is we are not in control of everything that happens in our life or in the lives of our loved-ones. One event can change the whole course of our lives forever. The one constant though, for Christians, is we don’t face these uncertainties alone—God is with us, and when we are connected to a church or faith community we have the support of others as we move forward.
Too often when we are asked how we are doing the quick and easy response is to say . . . “Fine, I’m fine.” My prayer is that if there comes a time in your life when things are overwhelming, you will seek help and ask for the support and prayers of your pastor and our elders. Also, we have an awesome prayer team for private concerns, and we have our PPC prayers for public concerns.
Know that you are in my prayers daily.
Grace and peace,