Through God Alone by Tiffany Nguyen
When I was in middle school, one of my friends shared her mantra with me: God wouldn’t throw at me what I couldn’t handle. I was astounded by her faith, seeing at the time I saw God to be a distant figure, not someone who I could necessarily trust. I mean, why trust someone who made me wake up early on the weekends just to sit around at church for an hour? But I liked what she said. And I believed it.
I always bit off more than I could swallow; in high school I loaded my schedule with AP classes, tried to commit myself to an assortment of clubs, and worked my way up my school’s marching band to hold many leadership positions. I volunteered more at my parish, I started dating, and I maintained an adequate social life. I wouldn’t say it was the easiest; there were many late nights, emotional breakdowns, and much turmoil that comes with a packed schedule. But for the most part, I was able to manage my load. Because God never threw at me what I couldn’t handle… right?
Come college, I felt like Superman. Undefeatable. Invulnerable to anything the world could throw at me.
And then I took my first set of college classes and got my first job.
Due to my major, I was subjected to two science classes every quarter in addition to taking calculus, all the while working 20 hours a week and trying to maintain my social life and relationship. It was physically draining because I would come home from a closing shift and have to wake up eight hours later for my morning classes. It was emotionally exhausting because my boyfriend lived two hours north and we were only able to talk after I got off work. And spiritually? My spiritual life was pretty much nonexistent. As I filled my schedule and days with more and more, I left less and less time for Him.
But God never threw at me what I couldn’t handle, right? After all, doesn’t it say in Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”?
I continued and struggled to chew what I had bitten, all the while desiring more because I believed that He gave me the strength to overcome all adversity. I would be the perfect student; sleep well, get excellent grades, and have a ton of friends. I believed that God would give me the strength to be able to excel at everything. But what I didn’t know was that He had no way to send me the strength I needed. I had abandoned Him and severed all possibility of His reach. I stopped praying, I attended mass with an empty heart and tired eyes… I felt so overwhelmed and disconnected from the world.
In my second year of college, I slowly let him back into my life, not exactly knowing how I’d find time for Him. He was knocking and I hadn’t heard it, buried away by my own ambition. Drowning would be a better word for that. Once I answered and readied myself for Him, He took care of everything.
I want to say the clouds parted and the sun shone through and the voice of the heavens spoke to me and my life turned around, that my failures were erased, I got a raise, and everything was fixed. It took a lot of time; I was so emotionally and spiritually worn out.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God wouldn’t throw at me what I couldn’t handle, but it is through His grace and divinity that we are able to conquer all the toils and tests the world presents us. It is through God alone that we can not only survive but thrive as His creations.