There is a myth in Christianity that I often hear people say. Maybe you have even said it yourself— “God will not put more on me than I can bear.” Maybe you’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve even said it. Some people even think it’s in the Bible. But let me debunk that myth right now with a look at the life of Paul. In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction… that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).
If ever there was a hopeless situation, Paul was in it. Paul hadn’t done anything to cause it. In fact, he had followed God’s leading straight into a place of despair.
If you share similar feelings today, you are in good company. The apostle Paul was a man who served God, knew God and pursued His calling at all costs. That should demonstrate to us that a life of service to our King doesn’t guarantee a life without difficulties, sorrow or sacrifice. In fact, the opposite is typically true.
God sometimes allows situations in your life to appear hopeless because He is trying to direct your focus onto Him. You may feel like giving up because you can’t seem to fix the situation that you are in, and no one you know can fix it either. All of your human resources have been depleted. But Paul reveals a very key principle in his next statement, “indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead… He on whom we have set our hope” (vs. 9-10).
In order to take Paul deeper in faith, God put him in a situation that his resume, abilities and connections could not change. Why? So that Paul would learn to trust God even more than he had done thus far.
Is God being mean in these situations? No.
I understand that it may feel like that when you’re going through it, but what He’s really doing is trying to take you deeper. It is in these times—these hopeless scenarios where you see no way up, over, or out—and yet God somehow ultimately “raises the dead” for you. God has now become real to you at a level you never knew Him at before.
Seek Him when life’s situations have you struggling (Isaiah 55:6). Don’t be ashamed of the pain or despair you may feel—Paul himself felt it. Never deny your emotions. Simply turn them Godward and look to the One who knows how to raise the dead.
See, if you’re not dying or in a situation that is dying—whether it’s relational, financial, emotional or something else—you will never know what it is like to experience a resurrection. If you don’t need one, you won’t see one.