When I was a kid, I was very superstitious. The one that really got me was “step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” I was very careful to avoid cracks at all cost. I wasn’t too keen on black cats either. I was also a terrible worrywart. I would worry about things out of my control, like my house catching on fire. I subscribed to the “bad things always happen in threes” mantra and would say, “Yep, that’s the third. I’m good for a while.
Then I grew up and learned that Catholics (phew!) are not superstitious. “Instead, we believe in wonderful things we know to be true. We don’t worry about the future…because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and our futures are safe with him.” (source: Catholic.com) So when I “grew up,” I learned the phrase “God only gives you what you can handle.” You hear that tossed around a lot, especially when a friend or family you know is dealing with a lot on their plate. I’ve been told that once or twice, and I kind of grit my teeth and think to myself, “then God must trust me a lot.”
All of us are handling various amounts of happiness, sadness, tragedy and challenges in our lives at any given moment. Some moments seem heavier on the challenges side than others. This week I have thought to myself more than once, “when it rains, it pours.” A dear friend of mine who I have known for 20 years died this morning of cancer. She is the closest thing to a saint I have ever known. I have prayed for her (almost) daily since I heard of her diagnosis. The prayer changed based on her condition at the time, but I often felt like, “God, are you getting tired of hearing this one again?”
Do you remember the parable of the persistent widow who kept bothering a judge to grant her justice and he finally gave in? This parallel to Jesus telling us to pray always without becoming weary is the takeaway here.
“Persistence in prayer is not about God, but about us. Instead of repeatedly worrying, one keeps turning to God, transforming worry into prayer. Jesus meant that we are to pray always so that we do not become overcome with weariness. By repeatedly entrusting our concern into God’s hands, we will not lose heart.” (Patricia Livingston, Living Faith)
So I’m going to continue bringing my intentions before God, even if He’s heard them before. If I lay them at the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to take them, then I will be stronger, less worrisome, and less weary to tackle the next thing coming my way. And there will be something else coming my way.
God doesn’t give us what we can handle, He helps us handle what we are given.*
No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
*I didn’t make that up. I found it on Pinterest.