Shortly after I put God’s Plan on my Facebook page I received a message from my friend Sarah Schiltz Elliott:
Your honesty and grace in the face of every kind of pain is amazing and humbling. Your faith is a challenge to the rest of us, I should speak for myself, to my half-assed trust and willingness to give up control. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” – is a bunch of crap. Do we use what happens to draw nearer and bring others to Him or further into ourselves or “stuff” Thank you for sharing your journey. Your faith is a light unto the path! Much love!
And I wrote Sarah back.
“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is a bunch of crap. Thanks for being honest.
And then Sarah responded.
I hope I did not insult you!! Its always been one of those phrases that seems to be said by clueless but caring people to people in overwhelming situations. If that is a helpful thought, I’m glad it helps. Words just seem to minimize the depth of feelings, love, anger, fear, any of them. And I question, among many things, that God gives people things to or because they can handle it. I cherish, in my limited understanding, Viktor Frankl’s quote born in the concentration camp, “in some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning”. That is where I feel God is, in the finding, living, loving, the meaning.
Just a bunch of random thoughts from someone who loves you, prays for you, and hopes she didn’t insult you! Thank you so much for your message back to me – it was like a hug for my soul. I will think of you now every time I swoop the whipped cream!
I’ve read and reread Sarah’s wise words so many times and she is so right. Sometimes phrases or words minimize the depth of my feelings of love or anger or fear. Never before have I ever questioned the phrase, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I always thought that it was probably true until now because some moments I feel it is a bunch of crap. Some days those words belittle my feelings because I am overwhelmed with sorrow.
Viktor Frankl’s quote “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning” is one I can relate to. I am beginning to understand more of what Sarah is trying to teach me. It’s that God is in the finding, the living, the loving and the meaning. Before this year I never would have understood the true meaning of those words but through my suffering I understand a little more clearly what Dr. Frankl and Sarah are saying.