So many times in life I've heard the phrase "God won't give you anything you can't handle". It's a nice phrase that helps you believe you will never be given anything in life that is just too hard. Something that is not too hard to bear. However, the problem with this feel-good phrase is that it's not Biblical. No where in the Bible does it ever say God won't give you something you can't handle. It's just a human phrase with human hopes behind it...it's not True. Go ahead, try to find it, it's simply not there.
The fact is, many times in life we are faced with situations that ARE indeed too much for us. Sickness strikes without warning, death comes, people lie, houses are destroyed, marriages are failed, children are rebellious, drinking claims lives, businesses fail, jobs are lost, and money is hard to come by. I could go on and on with all the tough stuff in this life. And if you are a person who has had the fortune of not being effected by any of the above situations then maybe your "tough stuff" is of the mental kind...your fears consume your ability to try something new, shame confines you to your loneliness, anger stirs your actions, abandonment makes you believe you are unlovable. It's all too much to bear. Too much to handle.
Thankfully, friends, Scripture does not leave us in our wallowing pit of despair. It doesn't tell us we can handle whatever comes our way, but it does direct us to the answer in overcoming all of this evil and sadness. It's a HUGE Truth found in a small little gem of a verse--Philippians 4:13.
" I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."
Did you read that? It is NOT in our own strength that we get through these hard times, friends, but instead, Scripture calls on us to rely on HIM who gives us strength! You see, God does allow us to go through situations that are WAY beyond what we can handle. Way beyond what our own strength can withstand. Situations where we will not have the answers, we will not have the know-how, we will not have the ability to get through it without one important tool...Him. Without God coming along on our life journey with us, we will not make it through this life with flying colors. We need to have God's own mighty power, authority, and strength especially in times when life is just too much to handle on our own. We are too feeble. Too weak. Too human to handle everything that comes our way. He is the only One who is big enough to handle any and every situation life throws at us. It is only through Him we can do all things....and He is trustworthy to depend on.
So, with little Nora, I need God to get us through this next year or so until she comes into our home. On days when it seems things will never end or I will never hear the words I long to hear from Haiti, I need God to gently remind me He is working everything out for Nora's good or I will go insane with the process. I need God's strength to pick me up and carry me through another day of no word from Haiti. I need God's authority and power to overcome the process itself and move paperwork safely and quickly through each step. I NEED Him to be strong enough to overcome my weaknesses so I can make it through this adoption without losing heart.
And with Maddie, they are in dire need of His strength right now. Maddie is, Amy is, Dan is, and even little Sydney is. The test results have come back and her new white blood cell count has dropped to 1% now so they have officially said this bone marrow transplant has been unsuccessful. This is extremely disheartening news for them all (and for us). They are still waiting on some more test results to come back this week to figure out what the next steps will be. Maddie's fevers and nauseousness has returned as well so they think she is still fighting the mono virus that seems to have wiped out her new white blood cells in the first place. They have several options before them at this point...do another transplant right away with the one remaining cord blood donation, wait and do a transplant in a little while, don't do a transplant right now at all, etc. They, and the doctors, need much wisdom as they weigh all the options and decipher what is the best plan of action for Maddie. In the midst of wisdom, they also need a big ole dose of God's strength to get them through this because this setback is definitely beyond what they can handle...beyond what their own strength will get them through. 50 days in the hospital with an unsuccessful outcome is just too much.
I believe with all of my heart, however, that our stories do not end with loss and weakness when we give ourselves fully to the Lord. In those moments, He swoops in, undetected perhaps, and holds our arms up in battle until victory is won just as He did in the battles of the Old Testament. He is a GOOD God, friends, even when life is hard. I believe He intends for Nora to have a family to call her own. I believe He intends on Maddie to have complete health and abundant life on this earth. I believe He is still the Miracle-Maker, the Healer, the Daddy God who blesses His children. It is that God I continue to pray to, plead to, and cry out to on behalf of both our adoption and our niece. I will not stop believing He will come to our aid, our rescue, our defense. I will not stop believing He will be strong enough for our journey when it really does get too much for us to handle.
Whenever I hear this song linked below, I think of Maddie, Amy & Dan. I imagine their tired, weary souls trying to comprehend what may be ahead of them as they look towards more treatment. In Dan's second post on their care page when this whole ordeal began, he shared, "All three of us cried and talked about how we are scared, sad, mad...and ready to fight! Amy and I are still incredibly stunned. Only the God of the universe will get us through this, because we aren't strong enough to do it without Him." It is in the thick of things now, some 50 days later from that post, that we all need to remember these words and believe in the Truth behind them.
I also think of a story Dan posted just a few days into their time at the hospital. He wrote, "I'll close with a conversation that I had with her (Maddie) this morning that really touched me. We were talking about a certain significant gift that someone had given to her and how she was going to receive it later today. While she was trying to guess what it was, I kind of made it sound like it was bigger/cooler than any other gift she had gotten before. To which, she replied, "Oh! Is it Jesus?!" And I said, "Ah, well, OK then, it is the second greatest gift that you could get." And then she said, "Because you know daddy, Jesus is all around this hospital, helping the nurses and doctors get my cancer gone." Once again, despite my focus on things and details, my daughter manages to teach me about what matters most. May God be glorified in every detail of this journey...even as we hurt and wrestle with unanswered "why" questions."
I can't imagine how daunting it all must feel. "In their moments of exhaustion, Lord, be the Strength they need You to be for them. Jesus, be the Gift Maddie needs right now--the Gift of Complete Health. Continue to do the work in that hospital to get Maddie's cancer gone forever and give her the gift of life on this earth to be that ever-ready testimony of the Strength You have given her. Be strong enough for each of them, Lord, be strong enough to win this battle. Lord, would You not only be the Strength Maddie needs, but please also be the Strength we ALL need You to be in whatever our situations are. Thanks, God. I know You can and desire to do this. We trust in You. Amen."