One day, a long time ago someone said similar words to me.
“You are stronger than you think”
I was fifteen and I felt far from strong. In fact, I felt weak and pathetic – because no-one else was crying every day, no-one else was falling apart at the seams.
We are all stronger than we think.
Our limits are undefined until we are pushed up against them (sorry that sounded very “self-help” didn’t it!?)
It’s not just the strength of the human will, the desire and drive to survive. I believe it to be something more than that, something deeper. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
This verse speaks powerfully to me in two ways.
Firstly, we are not alone. Whilst each situation is doubtlessly unique, no-one is alone in their suffering. In the words of R.E.M “Everybody hurts”, but more than that we have a God who has experienced the most acute suffering and agony. We aren’t alone because He has gone before us.
Secondly, it may sound obvious and flippant, but God knows us! He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows our capabilities and our limits. Although He may allow us to be pushed right up to our limits – He doesn’t allow us to be pushed beyond those limits.
One of my favourite Mother Theresa quotes echoes my own sentiments rather well:
“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”
And it can feel like God trusts us too much. But we can rest in the knowledge that God knows us better than we know ourselves and will not push us beyond our limits. It seems Christopher Robin got it right:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”