Does God only give us what we can handle?
Q: I have heard some people say that they loathe the statement that "God only gives you what you can handle." I have to say that I am not fond of this statement myself as there are people who feel that they may not be able to "handle" what is currently going on in their life. And then they feel unworthy of God. But for others this statement brings comfort. Can you tell us from your perspective, is such a statement a part of faith?
By Albert Scariato
That statement is derived from 1 Cor: 10:13, where the reader is reminded that God does not tempt us beyond what we can avoid. In any event, its is related to the authority of scripture. There are many verses in scripture that we rightly find anachronistic or even abhorrent: slavery, silence of women, massacre of entire cities including children, and many others. If a Christian were truly a literalist, s/he would never consume meats that were rare (or even medium) in order to observe the ordinances in Acts 15: 29. Anglicanism in its early days declared, "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary for salvation." This is a far cry from the fundamentalist belief that could be summed up as, "All of Holy Scripture is necessary for salvation." The nuanced Anglican approach to biblical authority allows for interpretation in light of reason.
Is that statement a part of faith? No, it is not. The tenets of Christianity are found in the Nicene Creed. And what about those times when we find ourselves with "more than we can handle?" The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us that even in those moments God is with us--an eternal promise of God's presence and guidance. In those times we should also be aware that around us are fellow human beings created in God's own image and likeness with whom we are asked to engage. That engagement prompts us to help others in overwhelming times and to seek the support of others in our times of great distress.
Rather than trite misstatements of scripture, what is more helpful is to remind ourselves that we are all in this together. We, none of us, gets out of this life alive, and that God's will is that we seek to serve God primarily in service to others. Now that's something we should be able to handle.
--The Rev. Dr. Albert Scariato, M.D, Rector, Saint John's Episcopal Church--Georgetown Parish.
Go to HealthCentral.com to learn more about the connection between faith and depression.
Posted by: tarle_subba | December 9, 2009 10:49 AM
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