Not too long ago, while running that quote through my head, again, trying to cling to it like I had for many years, I felt God speak to me, quietly: "Stop clinging to that. It's not true. You can only do it through Me." Sucking in air at the realization, I started turning this over in my mind. God does NOT give us what we can handle. We can only handle trials, tribulations, and all that crazy, tough stuff through His power and His strength.
Feeling mad and frustrated at Dr. Dobson for "hindering" me, I looked up the "quote" in his book. This is what I found, underlined in the book, by ME, years ago:
"When parents bring one of these tough youngsters into the world, they need to recognize that while raising that child may be difficult for a time, it is worth their effort to do the job right. Their attitude should be, 'The Lord gave me this challenging child for a purpose. He wants me to mold and shape this youngster and prepare him or her for a life of service to Him. And I'm up to the task. I'm going to make it with the Lord's help'...if they can perceive their task as a God-given assignment and believe that He's going to help them to fulfill it, then the frustrations become more manageable." (p. 31, underlining mine)
Sorry, Dr. Dobson, I've been misquoting you in my head for years. "I'm up to the task. I'm going to make it with the Lord's help" is quite different from "God gave you this child because He knows you can handle it."
Now, the question comes, why, for years and years, did I misquote that book?
It is simply so easy for me, maybe for you, too, to try to do things in my own strength -- a job, child-rearing, parenting, illness, marriage, church service, etc. Isn't it the American Way to pull ourselves up by our boot-straps, get to work, and get it done? If we work hard enough in school, we can get out of our poor neighborhoods. If we do our best in sports, maybe we'll get a contract. If we get into a good college, we can get a good job. If we work our tails off in a business, we can be rich. If we would just try harder, we wouldn't be in this mess. If we read enough parenting books, try enough strategies, pray hard enough, find the right system, our kids will turn out... perfect.
Don't you think our Enemy looks on, nodding his approval, knowing we will fail, happy to see us striving in our own power?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV