Trials, God’s Strength

For the last four and a half years I have been helping take care of my aging parents. The last two and a half of those years have been full time. This means my house sits empty and I stay in a room in their house. My dad is 94 and suffers from dementia. My mom is 87 and most of the time she is independent and healthy, she still drives, but lately she has been in and out the hospital for various complaints. I’ll tell you, this is the hardest and most frustrating thing I’ve ever had to do. My father and dementia is hard enough but my mom can also be a huge source of stress. She is adamant about keeping her current level of independence, which means driving, and last week for the third time in a year she hit something, while driving, with her side mirror and knocked it off. She will not consider giving up her keys. The biggest concession I can get from her is that she will no longer drive on the freeway.

Sometimes I want to run out of the house screaming.

But God. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have prayer and my faith in the Lord. The other day I was talking with a friend who is in a similar situation, she takes care of her father in law, and I said something like, “They say God never gives you more than you can handle but sometimes I feel like I’m going under for the third time. This is just too much for me.” She looked at me and said, “Where does it say that in the Bible?”

I didn’t know, I couldn’t point to a verse, it’s just something I’ve always heard. She said, “It’s not in the Bible and I think God does give us more then we can handle so we’ll run to and lean on Him.”

The Bible does promise that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that He will leave a way of escape from temptation, but there is no escape hatch promised for trials, pain and suffering.

I thought about this for a long time. Certainly the last two years have forced me to my knees more than I can say. I can’t handle this situation in my own strength. I need God every minute of every day. I believe my friend is right. If I could handle this in my own power and wisdom, then I wouldn’t open the Bible as much, pray as much, or ask for God’s wisdom and guidance. So God had given me more than I can bear and I can say that I’m thankful. Because I can’t bear it, I’ve learned to trust, rely and call on Him. It’s only with His grace, guidance and strength that I am able to stand each and every day.

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