Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to ”spreading the Good News” by educating others about Jesus Christ. His new homilies are posted each week.
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We’ve all been there—having coffee with someone whose life has crashed in on them, one hardship and loss after another. A second friend enjoying the java pulls out the Christian cliches for the moment. “God will never give you more than you can handle, you know.” Followed up with, “Everything happens for a reason, and whenever God closes a door He opens a window.” These phrases have to be in the Bible, right? In reality, the Bible is full of passages, prayers, and stories that show us the truth that life in this world is incredibly difficult, and at times and for some people, more than they can bear. Furthermore, some of the passages are clear that God is the ultimate and providential source behind the hardships that crush. In fact, Paul so much as confesses that the weight of their suffering and persecution was way more than he could handle. There is a real danger in trite hopeful words because they do not honor the suffering nor do they picture God honestly. Rather, what is promised in Scripture is that when we come to the end of ourselves what we find, or more importantly who we find there, will give us a hope that is much greater than the hollow promise that God will never give you more than you can handle.