There is this myth going around that “God never gives us more than we can bear.” If that were true, then nobody would ever starve, or escape into drug addiction, or commit suicide. If we only ever experienced what we could bear, then nobody would ever go crazy or need professional help. Life would be easy. And it’s not easy.
The fact is, assuming you believe in God (I do), God gives us more than we can bear all the time. We get more bills than we can pay, more diseases than our body can fight, and more problems than our human minds can solve. We’re “only human.” Sometimes we break. Sometimes it gets messy.
It is when we finally realize that life is more than we can bear, that we come to a fork in the road. To the left lies the path of pain and exhaustion, as we try to continue solving our problems on our own. This road is one of heavy burdens, martyrdom, loneliness and death.
To the right lies the road of surrender. Taking that road, I declare to the Universe, “I can’t do this on my own any more! I give up! You have given me more than I can bear. I have to lay the burden down. It’s too heavy for me. Somebody up there is going to have to carry some of it for me.”
And then an amazing thing happens: Someone answers the call. Somehow, strength comes from somewhere, and the burden that was too heavy to bear becomes easier. Friends and family arrive to lend a hand. An idea pops into the mind. Exhausted muscles somehow keep moving.
If you believe that God never gives you more than you can bear, then you’ve had an easier life than I’ve had – and my life isn’t even as tough as those of others. Time and again, I’ve tried to fix things on my own, and on this path, I’ve been broken under the weight of debts, disagreements, obstacles and responsibilities too great to face alone.
Repeated failure to bear my burdens has brought me to the road of surrender, and on this path is where I have discovered the miracle of grace: Grace from the Divine (Spirit, angels, guides), and, just as importantly, grace in community with other fellow mortals. Exhausted by my own efforts, and seeing others fall apart around me, I realize, over and over, the importance of relationships. Connecting to others, I am strengthened both by their assistance in my life, and by the energy that comes from helping others. When I allow compassion to flow in my life, it helps me just as much as everyone around me.
The truth is, we need each other. And in the face of crumbling governments and corporations, we need community now more than ever. As each of us shares our burdens, they are no longer too heavy to bear. When we help each other, we’re like threads in a cable: greater together than the sum of our parts.
God does give us more than we can bear – individually. But when we are driven out of our solo missions and into the arms of a caring community, we learn that there is nothing we cannot bear – together.
What you said about the two paths, 1) Martyrdom, loneliness, and death, 2) Surrender. Priceless and exactly what my experience was.
Thanks for this great perspective and putting into words a logical way of helping us turn to something outside of ourselves for help.
Thank you for your perspective on this. I also appreciated your blog on the subject. For the benefit of my readers, the link is: http://www.spiritualzen.net/2010/07/he-knows-just-how-much-we-can-bear/
It’s tough surrendering to an invisible force that a lot of people don’t even think exists. And yet, there are times when I find no other option. Like they say in Zen: Don’t just do something – sit there! 🙂