Sunday, February 18, 2007

Overwhelmed for dependence's sake

It's been a hard few weeks since Jacob arrived; of course there is the normal lack of sleep and adjustments to a new child. Then last week Diane was in the hospital for 36 hours receiving a magnesium IV to lower her blood pressure (induced by pregnancy), which meant a couple days of scrambling to get childcare and make sure Eliza and Palter were OK, a night spent sleeping on a couch in the hospital room (watching UNC loseto Va Tech) and another night at home getting up with Jacob to give him his bottle. Needless to say my resources are depleted, to say nothing of my poor wife's energy and resolve, given Jacob's every-two-hours feeding schedule and her time in the hospital.

So today I was reading in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 which says, "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."

There is a rumor that makes its rounds in Christian circles that says God won't put more on a person than they can handle. If that was true, then what happened to Paul? He was under pressure greater than his ability to endure, clearly more than he could handle, and he said that God let that happen in order to create dependence, not relying on himself but on God. (This thinking is actually a mis-application of 1 Corninthians 10:13. which 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 stand up under it.")

It seems to me that God constantly gives me more than I can handle. Life is more than I can handle - it was too much when I had no kids, when I had one, when I had two. This week I feel like I am at the end of my patience. I feel like crying sometimes for no reason. I feel distant from my wife as each of us is preoccupied with caring for the little ones. All this is happening that I might not rely on myself, but on God, and until today I was trying everything but, from buying and selling cell phones on ebay, to checking email, to angrily throwing a bowl full of cereal and milk into the sink and storming off the bedroom when Eliza informed me that she didn't want milk on her Cheerios.

If I could handle life, I would not need God at all. I believe that God's ultimate purpose for all people is for us to depend on Him for all things. And so He often gives me more than I can endure, taking me to the limits of my patience, ability to love, time, and energy so that I have to say, Lord, I give up. I need you to live through me. Reconnecting with Him through Scripture and worship has reminded me that relying on Him is life, the only life and hope that I have.


Alex said...

great post, marsh, thanks...although it makes me nervous about #3 on the way!

lots of love and prayers for dependence.

Chris said...

Sometimes we all throw cheerios on the morning after a Carolina loss. It's the natural way of things.

For those other stressful situations, there's an eager Aunt and an equally naiive boyfriend just a short drive away who don't mind babysitting.

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing all that Marsh. And thanks for clarifying the myth that i had sadly bought into!

Rachel said...

Doug here...thanks for the vulnerability. In seeing how the Lord spoke to you in that time, i'm most encouraged by the fact that you were reading scripture after a hard day / night. I need more of that.

Jon said...

Excellent post! I absolutely agree that if we are living for Christ He will give us those experiences that will cause us to rely soley on Him. Isn't that another lesson from Corinthians, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."? It is one of those terribly wonderful things!


PS - I had an adult sized temper tantrum in front of my wife and kids last night over something ridiculous. I share those moments of absolute frustration...just wish nobody would see them.