When life gives you too much
Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by life? Did you feel like you were just struggling to keep your nose above the water and keep breathing? Did you think you just couldn’t keep putting one foot in front of the other?
Maybe you have been broken by adultery. Maybe the pain of infertility was tearing your heart to pieces. The death of a spouse. Losing a parent. The inconceivable pain of losing a child.
I don’t know what you too much is. I had seasons of life that were too much. The first Sunday after learning about my ex-husband’s affair was too much. I was in a strange church, my hidden face providing a facade for the broken pieces within me, with a man next to me who was the cause of my pain. I was worried that everyone in that place would see the shattering inside of me. I wanted to go in and out without talking to anyone.
When the pastor stood up to speak, his subject was so apt: You can’t handle it! Instead of telling me that God will never give me more than I can bear, the pastor gently reminded me that this life indeed Is it that give us too much. Why?
Because God never wanted us to manage this life on our own.
Our community has been hit hard in recent months. We have had several families who have lost parents to Covid and cancer. Young families face the unexpected, the fear of suddenly becoming single parents. Watch their hopes and dreams derail. Surviving spouses try to stay strong for the sake of their children.
I know what it’s like to watch your children struggle with grief when a parent dies suddenly young. Grieving is complicated. These children must grieve at every stage of life, adjusting to the reality of their loss as they move through each stage of maturity.
Or the loss of a child. Can I just tell you how my heart breaks for those who lose a child? My children were my saving grace. They were my reason for living. I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost a child. This is really my biggest fear.
But that’s the reality of a few of my friends. One lost her son in a murder; one lost her daughter in a car accident. How do you get out of bed in the morning when a part of you is dead? How to move forward when grief is simply too much?
As I considered the question of too much this week I thought of Mary and Joseph. I know we can’t fully understand Mary’s pregnancy weight because our culture is so different. But Mary knew she could be put to death for being pregnant out of wedlock. She knew that her fiancé, Joseph, could choose to publicly humiliate her. She knew she could be left alone with no way to support herself or her child. she was facing too much.
And how did she handle it? I think his answer gives us some good ideas on how to deal with life when we are faced with too much.
She accepted the trip that God gave her. After the angel told Mary that she was pregnant, Mary said, “Be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I know Marie too much may be different from ours, but it was still her too much. Yet despite the fear and the unknowns and the pain of her future, she trusted the words of God addressed to her. She accepted the trip he had planned for her and walked forward with confidence, knowing that he would be with her every step of the way.
What is your too much God promises to see you through? For me the too much was losing my marriage, my ministry, my hopes and dreams. God did not cause it, but He do allow it in my life. I wanted to fight and scream and blame Him. But, when I humbly fell on my knees in surrender and accepted the journey, God began to show and show himself.
We could learn a lot by following Mary’s example of humble acceptance of our too much.
She sang praises to God. Marie sang:
Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! Because he noticed his humble servant, and henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For the Almighty is holy, and he did great things for me. Luke 1: 46-49
I attended the funeral of the young woman who lost her life in a car accident. The family had chosen to sing Raise a hallelujah because it was their daughter’s favorite song. As the worship team sang, his family began to stand up with their hands raised to praise the Father, the very one who had permit their daughter’s life is ending far too soon. In the middle of their too much, they chose to worship the One who gave his life. They chose to live their faith, even in the midst of their pain. They let the power of their praise overcome this life!
And that’s such a powerful lesson for us. One way or another, when we praise, we come into the presence of Him who is near broken hearts (Psalm 34:18). We approach the One who wants to heal our pain and carry our too much.
She clung tightly to what she saw and heard. After the shepherds came to find the baby Jesus, Scripture tells us that Mary “kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19). She had seen an angel. She had interacted with her cousin Elizabeth who was carrying a child in her old age. She heard the reports of the shepherds who brought back a multitude of angels. Everywhere she turned, she saw and heard reports of God’s goodness, and she chose to stand firm at every reminder of his calling in her life. These reminders, I’m sure, got him through many days when the too much seemed unbearable.
What reminders should you hold onto in your too much? Have you clearly heard God calling you out of your comfort zone before? too much to hit? Have you seen him provide in the midst of your too much? Have you felt his perfect peace wash over you at times when you thought you were collapsing under the weight of too much? Have you received the perfect word of encouragement at the right time to accompany you in your too much? We have to keep our eyes open to see and hear all these little things that God gives in the midst of our too much. I know if we can calm our hearts and souls just a little bit, surrender to His journey, He will provide those moments.
What is your too much? Can I just tell you that our God is the God of too much? He never wanted us to wear our too much; instead, he asks us to throw everything on him.
As we enter this beautiful season of celebrating our Savior, let us give Him our too much. Let’s trust Him to do something amazing with our pain. Let us follow Mary’s example and walk closely with Him.