Monday, May 18, 2009

More than we can handle

For years now, I've heard people tell me (and others) "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."

I've never felt comfortable with that statement, but haven't known why.

Until now.

A few nights ago I was in the car with my friend who was in the building last Monday when the shooting started and who goes to a lot of AA meetings, and some other friends who also go to those meetings, because I'd offered to drive them over to the other side of this very large Post so they could attend one of their meetings. My friend who narrowly survived on Monday had not yet been to a meeting since the shootings, and I figured it was the least I could do to be supportive.

As I was driving us back 'home' after they'd gone to that meeting, the others got to discussing the ordeal our friend had been through, and someone very helpfully suggested that God doesn't send us more than we can handle.

Having been through what *I'd* experienced, and having heard my friend's account of the terror of the situation, I knew instantly what was wrong with that statement.

"NO!" I practically shouted.

"That's not how it is at all!"

"God doesn't send us more than GOD can handle!"

"And that's the point of being in a recovery program, after all, right? Doesn't your Big Book say something to the effect of 'God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves?'"

"It's precisely situations like this that ARE too much to handle -- for us. But not for a big enough Higher Power."

There was no way I on my own could have handled even the small intersection between my life and the events in the Combat Stress Center on Monday, but I have a God who can, did, and does handle all of that, and more. My friend 'intuitively knew how to handle situations that used to baffle us' -- which resulted, I'm convinced, in others escaping with their lives too -- precisely because of his years of 'letting go, and letting God'.

God's handling of situations does NOT mean that bad stuff won't happen, however! It just means that no matter how bad the situation gets, God is not prevented from bringing life out of even the most death-dealing of situations.

God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Left to my own devices, there's no way I could have done what needed doing on Monday, or moved through the psychic aftermath with honesty, vulnerability, and courage. From my perspective, at least for myself, it WAS too much for me to deal with successfully.

But it wasn't too much for God. After all, my friend did not get drunk, or engage in any other self-destructive behavior. Even though my broken brain told me Monday night as I was saying Mass that I needed to consecrate -- and consume! -- all of the wine I had in my Mass kit (which SFC McG had replenished that morning), I did not do that, nor did *I* engage in any other self-destructive behavior, either, despite being in a lot of psychic pain.

(And just so we're all on the same page, my liver doesn't know any neoscholastic theology, and would experience consecrated wine the same way it experienced unconsecrated wine!)

God never sends us more than *GOD* can deal with.

Hooray for the Higher Power!

Blessings and peace to one and all,


Fr. Tim, SJ

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5 comments:

The Malones said...

That's very thought provokivng Father. Thank you for your postings.

marne.laughlin said...

Fr Tim,

Thank you for this post. It puts into words what I have felt for many years and the beauty and simplicity of the concept touches my heart and brings tears to my eyes and brings me ever closer to my HP.

marne

Anonymous said...

Well said! Donna F

chelsnjdubb@yahoo.com said...

A statement I like better is "God doesn't only give you what you can handle, but He does help you handle whatever you are given" My name is chelsea and I am the grandaughter of Dorothy over on the central coast in california.

Bill Cleveland said...

I've always liked "God doesn't give you more than you can handle but he will definitely max your ass out!"

 
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