Have you ever hear the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle”?
The idea that God won’t ever give us too much is a very comforting big, fat, lie.
God WILL Give You More than You Can Handle.
I’ll admit, before I came to this conclusion, I felt comforted knowing that God would never allow anything to happen that I could not “handle,” whatever that meant. Things would always be manageable and I’d always be okay.
The truth is, the Bible doesn’t ever mention anything at all about giving or not giving us more than we can handle.
The verse that some Christians could possible confuse with this phrase is 1Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
The key word here is “temptation.” Here Paul promises that God will not allow us to be “tempted beyond our ability.” God doesn’t say He won’t give us what we can’t handle. He says we won’t be tempted beyond our ability.
So…. you may ask. What’s the difference? What is “our ability”? Well, the second half of the verse, I think, helps answer that question: “but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Our “ability” is attached to the way of escape that God offers us each time we are tempted to sin. This exit door is what helps us resist and escape it. But more importantly, our ability is measured by our maturity in Christ and our reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
God certainly does allow us to experience more than we can handle, though.
Jesus was given more than He could humanly “handle.”
He prayed that God would take his awful fate away from him, but he added the important words “but now my will; your will be done.” He was then beaten, crucified, and died an excruciating death. He did so without sin, however, because while he was tempted, he knew the “way of escape”. Still, God game him way too much for anyone to handle.
Like He did with Jesus, God will inevitably allow us to experience more than we can handle. Maybe it’s in death of a parent, or a spouse. Maybe it is watching a life-long dream drift away. It could be soldiers who watch their friends die in combat. Little children and siblings born with mental illness, or physical handicaps. Or may it’s simply God calling you to a very difficult career, financial stress, a draining job, or a very lonely period of time. Any of these things might be more than we can handle… but that’s the point.
Christianity is not the guarantee of an easy life, but the abundant life.
It makes us uncomfortable to think about suffering loss and God allowing that loss. (Don’t get me started on Job.) But God wants desperately for us to cling to Him, to hold onto Him for dear life sometimes, (as we are drowning). Without Him, we would drift away into nothingness. We will suffer greatly, at some time in our life, that’s a guarantee.
And it is because of our sufferings and through our sufferings that we can become more like Jesus:
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ and, if sharing in His sufferings is one way, then bring it on! Paul also tells us to rejoice in our trials and tribulations of any kind, for the “testing of our faith produces endurance”.
I gladly accept the fact that God will allow me to experience such pain and difficulties that I will be broken under the weight of these burdens. Then I can look to my Lord, the lover of my soul, and cry out to Him, knowing He is the only One who can save me.
I do not want to buy into the lie any longer of naively believing that there is some magic limit or glass ceiling on suffering. There isn’t, and we demean the power of Christ’s sufferings when we assume there is.
If we are do be like Him, we must suffer like Him, and then turn to only Him, only our Lord and Savior. He wants us depending on Him. When are we ever more dependent on Him than when we can’t handle ourselves?
Do you think other followers of Christ will suffer for believing the lie that God will never give you more than you can handle? How is God pushing you to lean on Him more in your life?