I’m pretty sure that almost everyone has heard the saying or reassuring quote of, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” If you haven’t heard of it, you may be living under a rock or someone who doesn’t believe in God. This is a subject that I struggle with and would love to do a home Bible study on.
There have been times in my life that I have had to really question this saying and I wanted to see what the Bible had to say on this. For some when they are told this, it is almost like saying that if you can’t- you must not have enough faith or you are not worthy enough to make it through the circumstances in life that are overwhelming. For many years this was a touchy topic for me, mainly because of the misconception that as a Christian, you shouldn’t have problems dealing with life or bad news. I know many would assume it is encouraging and a way of giving someone hope. But, I can say for myself, it hasn’t and isn’t always encouraging to me. The words that are meant for encouragement can often serve to only create discouragement. When things are falling apart and health issues are getting worse and there is no cure, knowing that God will never give me something I couldn’t handle wasn’t doing it for me.
At times, this encouraging verse, or saying, was making me angrier at God and I wanted to deck the person that would say it to me. What it says to me is, “If I am supposed to handle this, then why can’t I handle it?” And, as a Christian, we are supposed to take God at His word and trust that things will work out. So, for a long time I felt like I was failing at something, because I wasn’t handling things all too well and was thinking my name should be Job not Sandie.
Since I was very much feeling like I have failed at this test of endurance and strength, I wanted to see where the Bible verse was for this. The truth is, God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. What I did find out is that God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle.
There will be times in life when you will feel like you are never going to make it through whatever it is that you are going through and there is no one to help you. I think that this is one of those phrases much like “God helps them who help themselves” that people repeat so often that they assume it is in the Bible but it actually is not!
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 Paul wrote: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, Paul’s warning is tied to the reality of temptation and sin that meets us every day.
OK, so the exact wording isn’t in the Bible. Whew on that one. I do feel better about that because I felt like I was failing the test of trusting and thinking I was doing something wrong-so, I was being Job.
I would have to say that I think God allows us to be in situations where we can’t handle it and when it is beyond our strength so that we might depend on Him more!
I actually think this phrase can be dangerous and hurtful in some ways. It can also lead us to believe the lie that we can do it ourselves- that we can handle it. Which raises the question, “If we can handle anything that comes our way, then why do we need God at all?”
We need to realize that sometimes we can’t make it on our own. In my life, if it wasn’t for God, I would never have made it through the things I have and I would have no desire to. The reality is that sin and hardships happen every day of our lives.
Paul was talking about temptation- not suffering. With temptation, we have a choice, but with suffering we often don’t have a choice. When Paul pointed out that we have choices, we can run from them or we can give in and sin. I believe that God will provide a way out of those temptations and a way to escape.
When I hear about how God will never give us more than we can handle. I know for certain that God is faithful! In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says that, “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.”
In moments when I feel like I can go on no longer and I get tired of fighting medical issues and problems living in this world, I have to remember that as a Christian, I should be imitating Jesus Christ and putting my faith in Him.
My dear friend Lisa has been having some difficult moments emotionally and because of her faith, we can sit, talk, cry and realize that God will never forsake her. Instead of standing up and proclaim that we can handle it alone, we need to call on Jesus. The night before Jesus was executed, He cried out in the garden, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Jesus told His father, “This is too much for me!”
What I have learned from some of these verses and this saying is that it is OK not to be able to handle it. We can cry out to the Lord “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” And when we do this, we find God—the one who, in the person of Jesus, suffers with us.
When I think of my life and all the medical diagnosis’s and life’s challenges I become aware that most definitely life will give me more than I can handle. But, I also know that God is faithful and He will be there through the pain and the problems that living in the world can bring.
A friend of mine told me a long time ago that we need to constantly depend on God. I have to remember that I need/have to depend on God and let Him have control of my life. It took me a long time to come around to this way of thinking.
When I realized a long time ago that I was giving him only 90% of my trust, things got better. I guess it is like tithing when we are told to give 10%. I was keeping that 10% instead and I needed to increase my tithing to the Lord by 90%. I needed to give 100% of my everything. There is no greater investment than investing in God. I wasn’t fully trusting God- I am now though. Peter instructed the Church to cast our fears, worries, suffering and pain on God. God loves us more than anyone or anything ever could. So why not trust Him fully? When life deals us more than we can handle, we can rest in the reality that God can handle it. I want to end this post with this simple thought or promise. When it comes to pain, depression, grief, temptations, trials, heartache and burdens, it doesn’t say it won’t be more than we can bear. Instead the Bible says it best:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 28-30)