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“God never gives you more than you can handle.” And, “be careful what you pray for, you might just get it.” Of course, presuppositions and context and the real meanings behind the words make all the difference. Here there are presuppositions that I would say are necessary to any comment on these aphorisms: that God exists, that He answers prayer, and that He is good (even loving).
This year has been very difficult for me. An acquaintance I have known for fifty years e-mailed me to send him thousands of dollars as “a matter of life and death” but “do not ask any questions.” I have been diagnosed with a problematic medical condition for which I am currently receiving treatment. And most recently a woman that we’ve known for ten or fifteen years showed up on our doorstep having just left her husband and having no place to sleep.
And in a conversation with her, she said that her pastor’s wife told her regarding her marital situation, unwittingly in a lead up to her leaving, be careful what you ask for, He will bring it to you good and hard. And I found myself responding, No, God will not answer you maliciously or vindictively, but will support you and stay with you through everything.
I think part of the answer involves that we don’t know how good God is, and we don’t realize how bad we are. This reminds me of Jesus’ words to Simon Peter that Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.
I’d like to know your thoughts on these two commonly used statements. Do you agree with these statements? Do they apply in your lives? (With the givens that God does exist and that God does respond to prayers.)Published in