God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle...

I (texted) checked in with a friend going through a rough patch this week. Her husband has been struggling with his health and had a minor surgery but ended up back in the hospital this week. She is exhausted, as you can imagine. At one point, via text, she wrote, "I know God doesn't give us more than we can handle, but I think enough is enough." She, of course, included a smiley to let me know that she is fully submitting to the Lord's will and in it for the long haul.

Being a text conversation, I simply let her know she could call on me for anything they needed and I was praying, but I have pondered that oft-used phrase all week long: "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." I have thought it and said it myself.

Several years ago, however, I read a blog that gave me an entirely different perspective on it. And, as is the tragedy with blogs, I have no idea where I saw it, so I can't credit this person or even send you to her and we are all grieving that fact because she said this point far more eloquently than I will.

She had an ill child. Like ... potentially fatally ill. It was scary and she used this same phrase to a pastor that came to minister to her: "I know God doesn't give me more than I can bear, but I just don't think I can do this..."

The pastor encouraged her to look up the scripture that phrase is taken from: 1 Corinthians 10:13. It isn't talking about life struggle situations at all. It's talking about temptation. Perhaps we are using it in the wrong context:

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it. " 1 Corinthians 10:13

The blogger went on to say (probably in my paraphrase), "God gives us situations all the time that we can't handle. We are to go to Him with them and let him bear them for us."

That has stuck with me through the years. It isn't always the time to correct someone's theology about the matter, but I want to encourage you to consider the point. You may be carrying something that you think you can't handle. Guess what? God may not intend for you to be carrying it alone.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (emphasis mine)

See? He promises us that we will have trouble. But he also reminds us that he is bigger than all of it. Oh, I am so grateful. It's only the world.

Matthew 19:26
Mark 10:27 and
Luke 1:37
all have a variation on the theme, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (the one in Luke is spoken by the angel Gabriel so I think it's pretty cool!) Those are words I cling to when I am in the pit of time that I see no end in sight or way to break free. Luke 1:37, "For nothing is impossible with God." Nothing.

Whatever road you are walking today, God may have allowed you to have way more than you can handle alone. But NOTHING is impossible with God. Truth. And GLORY!


Roxanne said...

I have found on my own difficult roads that God have given me strength and blessings and tears and naps and FRIENDS, FRIENDS, FRIENDS along the way. Loved your thoughts.

Wendy said...

And Fernando Ortega's song "Take heart, my friend" comes to mind. God is with us no matter what we go through.

Sisters 'N Cloth said...

What a great point! That saying has always bothered me, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Thank you so much for sharing. HE is sufficient.


Mstirman said...

Isn't it amazing how 'time worn' quotations, when closely studied, often show us how easily we pick up on a theme and never source it. Thanks for reminding us to keep studying and searching scripture. Also a beautiful reminder that Christ was also tempted and in being so, promises us that we will be too. Not to discourage us, but to remind us that God is sufficient in all things that distract us. Beautifully worded.

Dad said...

That's the most clear-cut explanation of that misconception that I've ever heard.

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