John 15: 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
The human body is an absolutely extraordinary machine. I know this from the abuse I have placed on it in athletic pursuits and its ability to not only recover, but amazingly, to improve. The whole concept of growing muscle seems almost counterintuitive. As we lift weights for example, we actually damage our muscle fibres, but after the workout, in a time of rest, the body fuses muscle fibres together to form new muscle protein strands. These repaired strands increase in thickness to create muscle growth.
However, it is possible to actually over train as an athlete. Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) is an imbalance of training and recovery. Overtraining (either in terms of volume or intensity) actually diminishes performance, and significantly increases the chances of injury. The volume and/or intensity of training can be at a place where the body is unable to cope with the exertion and begins to break down.
I have often felt the same phenomenon with life in general. I guess we could call it Overlife Syndrome (OLS). Sometimes it appears that life is throwing way more at us than we are able to handle. I recently said to a pastor friend, Ken, that life was very difficult right now, but I trust that “God will not give us more than we can bear”. He called me on it and asked where I found that scripturally, and I confidently responded: “1 Corinthians 10:13”. Ken corrected me and pointed out that this scripture was referring to temptation, not to trials.
In further considering this, I have to admit that we can actually face more than we are able to bear. In fact, I would suggest that God may even allow more into our lives than we are able to bear because his intent is for us not to actually bear it alone. In times of great trial, he encourages us to take His yoke. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29). What we are unable to bear alone (at least bear it in a healthy way where we are not physically, emotionally, or spiritually depleted), we are able to bear with Jesus.
The key to taking on the struggles of life is to actually abide in Jesus. Take the time to read John 15, in which Jesus describes the Vine and the Branches. If we want to bear fruit, we need to be fully grafted to Jesus. Where we wander from him, where we attempt to take on the world without a close relationship to Jesus, we starve ourselves of the strength we need, the wisdom we need, and the supernatural joy we need to deal with the heavy burdens we often have in this world. Have you been pummeled by life? Have you been robbed of peace or joy from the trials you have faced? Consider if you have allowed yourself to be disengaged from the true vine. Choose to abide in Jesus.