I'm struggling with an idea so I'm going to bounce it off of you and see what you think the Bible has to say. First you should know that My husband and I adopted a baby girl from Korea seven and a half years ago. We knew that it was what God was leading us to do, but when people would ask me why we were adopting, I didn't feel like I had an adequate answer. After all I really didn't know why God lead us into adoption. It wasn't until after our daughter was home that I had a better idea of why we adopted.
Our Pastor used Eph. 2:10 in a sermon, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” When I read it, I thought “That’s it! That’s why we adopted; God prepared it in advance for us to do. At that moment I knew that before time God knew who our children would be, both our biological ones and the adopted one.
Just this week as I was reading this passage again God opened my eyes to something different, while the work was prepared for me, it doesn’t say that I was prepared for the work, it says “so that we would walk in them” I did a quick study with an online concordance and could find no verse that specifically said that we are prepared for the good works that God has "prepared beforehand" for us. In fact I found a number of verses that showed that our works are the outcome and proof of our faith. Just look at James 2:14-24 and go from there with cross references. However in second Tim.3:17 it states "so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." The verses just before this are telling us what the word of God is for, thus the equipment that we have for every good work is the word of God. It doesn't imply that we will be equipped or prepared in and of ourselves. How many times have we not obeyed God because we just weren't prepared or ready yet?
As we have spent the last years raising our adopted daughter, I can tell you with all certainty that I was not "prepared" to raise an adopted child. It's not because we didn't have good resources. I believe that I was blinded to truth about adoption and how it effects the child. The last years have been a trail. But what does a trial do? It conforms us into the image of the Son of God. I never before thought of "good works" as being the trials that God would use to refine me. I mean "good works" are good right?
We do know that He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6) in fact He is our helper. We also know that God will not give us more than we can handle. This is something that I believed and in fact found great comfort in when this past Aug. God brought an 8 month old baby boy in Korea that needed a family to our attention. We have been done expanding our family for 7 years now, but God began to change our hearts and burden them for this little boy. In between episodes of hyperventilating, I would remind myself, "If God is asking us to do this at least I know He won't give me more than I can handle. There is even a popular song with this same idea that I found most encouraging. God did make it very clear that He was calling us to adopt this little boy, and after the shock of finding out that we have a son in Korea, we are very excited.
Now to fast forward to this past week. Our pastor asked a number of families if they would be willing to answer some interview questions about adoption in front of the congregation. In preparing my answers I tried to find the reference for "God will not give us more than we can handle."
but in researching this I couldn’t find that God says that anywhere in the Bible. What He does say in 1 cor. 10:13 “…and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able…” I first searched an online concordance and not finding anything I went to the next best thing, Google. I found this article, which confirmed what I had already found. If you would like to read it here is the link
God won't give you more than you can handle
I'm not saying this all to be a "Debbie Downer" I kind of find it encouraging because it confirms what I already know, I'm not prepared and in my own strength and it has definitely been more than I can handle. However, in 2 cor. 12:9 Paul tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” I think that we are not prepared for the good works that God has for us to do, or we would not lean on Him and find our strength in Him. If we can handle it on our own we don't need Him.
I'm studying Revelation in my women's Bible study and couldn't help but see the parallels to the church at Laodicea in Rev. 3:14-20. They were so wealthy that they didn't see their spiritual blindness and need for God.
Alright enough rambling from me. I'd love to hear what you think about this. I'm still trying to study it out and value any Biblical perspectives that you have on the subject.