Have you read the much-discussed article on Relevant “Yes God will give you more than you can handle“? It’s a thought-provoking read on the oft-quoted phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” How many times have you screamed into the void, “I can’t handle this! It’s too much!” Then a well-meaning friend pats you on the back and reminds you that God won’t give you more than you can handle. So who’s the problem? You because you can’t handle it? Or God because He allowed it? Or is the view just completely wrong?
I’m not here to debate whether God gives/allows more than we can handle. Instead, I offer a new narrative for how I think God wants to handle our burdens. This framework pulled me out of the darkness of depression and anxiety and into the light of knowing I was loved and cared for no matter what.
A few weeks ago we headed to the pumpkin patch with the kids. T-Rex marched through row after row hunting for the biggest, best pumpkin ever. When he found “the one,” he jumped up and down, sat on it, and hugged it. We stared at him. It was half the size he was.
I looked at Kedron, shrugged, and said, “Why not? You only live once. Let’s carve a giant pumpkin!”
Kedron chuckled at my only live once comment. It might not have been the best choice of words since he had just been diagnosed with cancer a few days prior. Tact is not my specialty.
“Put it in the wagon, Daddy!”
“What, don’t you think you can carry it?” Kedron asked.
“No way!! It’s too big!” T-Rex was nearly jumping out of his skin with anticipation. Not once did he try to pick up the pumpkin. He left it all to his dad. He knew it was too big to carry, so why even attempt?
Kedron hefted the pumpkin onto a little red wagon. We took guesses on its weight as we wheeled it to the scale. T-Rex’s pumpkin weighed in at 39 pounds. Not one to be left out, Little Miss picked up a 30 pounder.
As we headed to the car, the kids hopped onto the wagon to catch a ride. I jogged ahead to capture the moment of Kedron pulling nearly 70 pounds of pumpkin and another 110 pounds of kids.
As I framed the shot, a wave of emotion rolled through my spirit. I realized, as we entered a cancer journey, that God had given me a picture of something He had spoken to my spirit in the depths of anxiety and depression a few years ago.
While I fought my way through the mental fog of anxiety years ago, a verse came to mind that had haunted me through my adolescence.
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
For years, that verse had been another reminder of how I failed. I would cast my anxieties, worries, and fears out to God. It was like casting a fishing line into the depths of the sea. I would see my issues just bobbing around out there, not going away, not seeing God do anything about them. Then I’d reel them back in, since He obviously wasn’t doing anything about it. I never really let go. I couldn’t. Then the burden would get too heavy, and I would cast it out to God again. Then reel it in. Over and over.
In the depths of my anxiety, God led me back to this verse. I looked up the meaning of the word “cast,” and discovered I had it wrong. It means to “cast upon,” as though casting a garment upon a colt or a beast of burden. This image of casting my burden upon something or someone, filled my mind. It was as though God spoke to my spirit and said, “Cast your burdens upon ME. Let me carry them for you. Then climb on my back as well. Let me carry you too. Because I care for you.”
The phrase reverberated through my soul, breaking loose years of anguish and grief and anxiety. He wanted to carry me. When my burdens were too heavy, He would carry the burdens and me. He is like a good father, offering to carry what we cannot, and giving us a ride in the process.
T-Rex didn’t have any doubt his Dad could carry the pumpkin that weighed not much less than him. He also didn’t doubt that he could climb in the wagon and Dad would carry him too.
Like a good father, happy to carry what’s too heavy for you, and offering you a ride too – that’s your heavenly Father.
Whatever is too heavy, whatever is too hard – let Him carry it. Let him carry you too, because He cares for you.
For me, it’s often as simple as saying, “God. It’s too much. I need you to carry me.” I open my hands, breathe deeply, and rest. I stop trying to figure it out all the solutions, how to fix the problem, and how to handle it on my own. I simply stop and acknowledge His presence in the midst of it.
You’re not alone. You are loved. You are cared for. You are carried.
God will carry you, because He cares for you.