At Capacity, but Not Perplexed

"How can you tell when you are at capacity?"    

How can you tell when you are at capacity?

These last weeks, I’ve had James 1:2 running through my head: “Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” I certainly resonate with those last words, “trials of various kinds.” Phil and I actually listed them out the other night. Our trials span work and family, hit us on emotional, physical, and spiritual levels, and at times have felt as if they might swallow us whole. Yet somehow, in naming them out loud to one another, we felt more confident in the rest of what James has to say:

“....For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:3-5)

When I feel as though I am being stretched beyond what I am capable of, I find comfort in God’s word. I need to steal away to read it to myself alone and speak it aloud when I’m with others.

When work deadlines loom and the children won’t go to bed and my home is a mess, I feel afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. These are Paul’s words to describe the various trials experienced by the Corinthian church, but in his letter, he explains, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8, emphasis added).

And what does Paul point to as the reason he can feel at capacity but not run over the edge? The gospel. In Christ’s death, we find life, purpose for the trials, hope for personal growth, and an eternal respite.

If you, too, feel pressed beyond measure, let Paul’s words wash over you like a cool, healing downpour: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Take heart, friend. God is renewing you day by day. And this affliction, no matter how it feels in the moment, is truly light and momentary. Look forward with me to the unseen, eternal weight of glory that is to come.