“‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?'” Matthew 14:31
You would likely not be surprised to know that when you tell people you are expecting quintuplets or that you have quintuplets, you open the door for those people and many others to give you advice, offer their support and encouragement, have a nice laugh in bewilderment, or any combination of reactions ranging from shock to awe. Meeting people, seeing their reactions, hearing their stories, and learning from their words of wisdom – this has been one of the more enjoyable pieces that has been added to this puzzle we now call our life. Our lives have been opened up like never before and in response, many have opened up their own lives to ours and for that we are extremely grateful! We never realized the potential of community in our own lives until that day when poor Dr. Silverberg (God bless him, I think he nearly had a heart attack that day!) dutifully counted out the five future fabs that were then growing in Casey’s belly!
One of the more frequent versions of the casual counsels we have received goes something like this: “Don’t worry, God only gives you what he knows you can handle.” And believe me, these words have served as great comfort at many of the more stressful, chaotic, and otherwise difficult moments during our great adventure! What a thought – to know that the God of the universe knows that you can handle your current circumstances, believes in your abilities to succeed, and trusts you to do what will serve his purposes best can be incredibly motivating. It kind of makes you believe you can run through a brick wall or…walk on water…or something like that! Trouble is, I believe that this sentiment could not be farther from the truth of how Christ expects us to react to the challenges we face and how he works in our lives through the obstacles that threaten to wipe us out…
For some of you, I imagine you might have to pick yourself up off of the floor after reading that last statement, but stay with me a bit longer and hear me out. Here is how my thinking goes…
(And let me preface this by saying that I am no Biblical scholar and I am not an expert on anything about which I am speaking. These are only my thoughts based on my experiences and the teaching I have received, nothing more.)
Here is how I see it – God does not trust us…he knows us all too well for that! He knows our abilities, he knows our talents, and he knows our weaknesses and he also knows that we are just about guaranteed to screw up most of what he asks of us. And he is perfectly ok with that. What I believe is that, knowing our inabilities and our fears and our weaknesses, God intentionally gives us challenges that are way above our pay grade. Way, way, way, way above it in many cases! I absolutely believe he did that individually with me and with Casey and even with Little Miss Sunshine, Eliot McKenna, and also with us collectively as a family. Do you really believe that God would test us just to confirm for himself that he knew we could handle it all along? Again, I’m no expert, but I do not believe this is how it works. Rather, I believe he tests us in order to force our hand, to create circumstances in our lives which cause us to make the decision, one way or the other. Do we leave our own ambitions and judgments and understanding behind us and lean on him like we have never leaned before? Or instead do we continue to do things our way and shoulder the load with no guiding hand from above?
Those who follow my tweets and Facebook postings may have seen me post something along these lines in the recent past: “Get out of the boat! Fix your eyes on Christ and dare to live the life he has planned for you!” Of course I am referencing the Bible story in which Peter the Apostle, a normal human being by all other accounts, walked on water. It is an amazing story of Christ’s power over the natural world we live in, but here is the deal: Peter can’t walk on water, just as you and I can’t do the same and Christ knows it! And if our Lord had not been there to lift him up when Peter’s personality got in the way of his connection with Christ, we would be telling a different story today about that stormy night at sea. No, Peter didn’t do a thing on his own, except cower in fear as the waves crashed around him before answering the call from his father out on the water.
Think about this…in four months time I started a new business, welcomed two new soon-to-be sisters into our family when my parents took in two foster children, found out we were having quintuplets, and started an MBA program about which I was already concerned given the expense and the time it would require. I’m not telling you this in an effort to brag on myself; believe me, I have little to brag about. I’m telling you this to illustrate just how far God will go to prove to you how impossible this life can be when you live it without him. I’m telling you this to illustrate the amazing power his hand can have in an individual’s life, if only you first accept the call, just as Peter did. I started my business nearly two years ago and the other three dominoes fell shortly thereafter. And two years ago, I was wholly inadequate to respond to any of the challenges that were then careening around the bend, their course set for a head-on collision with me and the rest of this little family. I was wholly inadequate to handle those challenges, except for one very important detail…God was in control…then, now, and always.
Casey and I are normal people with normal needs, wants, abilities, weaknesses, fears, failures, successes, desires, and demands. Actually, I am all of those things; Casey on the other hand is absolutely amazing in every single way!! I however am a normal person who encountered far from normal circumstances and responded the only way I knew how – I gave it up to God (and of course the same is true of Casey, except for that “normal person” part). And while the road has never been easy, (not for even one single minute!) the ride has been wholly extraordinary in only a way that he can deliver.
So, my intent in writing this blog today is not to offend or upset anyone or necessarily to change anyone’s opinion on life and Christ and all things in between. I simply wanted to offer a different perspective, one that has enabled us to have peace amidst our own stormy nights at sea. It is a comforting thought to trust that God would not give you any more than you can handle and I do not blame anyone for believing that to be true. But I do hope that you will consider what I have said. And I also hope you come to know as I have that the true power and potential that lies within all of us lies firmly in Christ’s hands, not ours. And if we would like to unleash that power in our own lives, all he asks is that we get out of the boat and dare to live the life that he has planned for us.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5