I looked at the x-ray of my cat, my heart plummeting to the depths of my stomach as my mind tried to grasp what the veterinarian was explaining to me.
“As you can see, the cancer covers the entire bowel region and has spread to the lungs,” he concluded gravely. I nodded numbly.
“I’m so sorry,” he added gently, “but l believe we should put your cat out of his misery.”
I looked over at One-Ear, who was lying nearby, knocked out by the local anesthesia. Hot, salty tears began to form in my eyes and run down my cheeks, as the reality of saying goodbye to my loyal little companion of 19 years hit home.
Not this too, Lord.
Walking home afterward with my cat’s empty carrier in my limp hand was like trying to wade through fast-setting concrete. The trials and mental anguish l had endured in the previous 12 months—depressive episodes, burnout, and agoraphobia—weighed me down until l felt like l couldn’t take another step. Additionally, my attempts to raise the topic of mental illness in my church had been rejected, and people who l had thought were my friends had proved otherwise.
And now my pet, my devoted friend, was gone as well.
I can’t take this Lord. It’s simply too much.
In the days that followed my cat’s passing, l tried to open my Bible, albeit without success. When l finally did, l found this in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
This Bible verse didn’t comfort me.
In fact, l didn’t believe it.
Had l been wrong all this time? Does God really give you more than you can handle?
After l spent time with God and sought His presence, the following became clear to me:
We know the One who overcomes
Sometimes, we fall prey to our bad decisions and irresponsible behavior. However, there are also times when adversity strikes us and it’s not of our doing, such as the passing away of my beloved pussycat.
Toward the end of Jesus’ three-year ministry, He warns His disciples that they would not be spared from trials or tribulations:
“In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).
However, Jesus continued to say that He is stronger than any trial they may face:
“But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Instead of asking myself why God allowed me to be tested in this way, I’m trying to remember that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, the Almighty, the Ruler of all. He can overcome any problem I could ever face!
We’re not expected to bear our own burdens
God’s intention is not for us to shoulder our burdens on our own. He is Immanuel—God with us. In fact, God tells us specifically in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on Him. I do this through prayer—by laying my weakness and my grief at His feet, and telling Him the burdens of my heart. Afterwards, l feel comforted and lighter, knowing that God is carrying a burden that l do not need to carry.
God wants us to know that it is His responsibility to carry our burdens; however, it is our responsibility to trust Him and let Him do it.
God always provides a way through the trial
When writing to the Church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul doesn’t just warn them about suffering—he emphasizes God’s faithfulness to them through it! He says that God will always provide us with a way out of our situation—not necessarily by allowing us to avoid it, but rather by going through it with us.
Paul had firsthand experience of God’s faithfulness amidst arduous trials—he was imprisoned, shipwrecked, and beaten; and yet God delivered him every time (2 Corinthians 1:10).
For me, help has come in the form of anti-depressants that enable me to feel bright fragments of hope amongst the murky darkness of discouragement and despair. God has also provided me with my beloved husband who supports me and looks after me.
We are offered Jesus’ gift of peace
Just as Jesus knew that we would face trials that test our faith, He also assures us that He is our source of peace during such times:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Reading this verse always comforts me. Jesus knows that we need peace in this world, and He has already provided it. For me, accepting Jesus’ gift of peace is akin to feeling safe, like He is holding me in the palm of His hand. My heart feels light, like it has been relieved of the worry, pain, and conflict that was otherwise weighing it down.
One-Ear may have only been a cat to others, but to me, he was a friend, a comforter, and support that God brought into my life. Two months have passed since he died. Do l still believe that God gives me more than l can handle?
Yes. But I also believe that l can hand all my pain over to God and accept His help to ease my burdens.
Most importantly, l believe that God loves me and that He will heal me in His time and manner, for He is Jehovah Rapha (Exodus 15:26).
Whatever troubles are currently weighing you down, know that God never meant for you to carry your burdens alone. Accept His offer of help. Let Him fight your battles for you while you rest in peace and trust in His presence.