I don’t know how many times I have had someone tell me that God will never give me more than I can handle. The majority of these people were family members and friends who were genuinely trying to encourage me while I was going through a difficult time. There have been times when I said it to others. I had heard it so many times that I just assumed it was something taught in the Bible. The problem is that it isn’t.
I assume that the idea comes from 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 when Paul writes these words:
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 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. (ESV)
Notice what Paul actually says here. God won’t let us be tempted beyond our abilities. He will always provide us a way out. That isn’t the same as saying God won’t give you more than you can handle. I think He does it all the time. There are a LOT of passages which seem to suggest that. Psalm 38:1-8 reads:
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
Does that sound like someone who can handle what he’s going through? I sure don’t think so. A brief glimpse at our own everyday lives show us that it is not the case either. Think of the families who are crushed by the untimely death of a loved one. Think of the pain and agony brought on by disease. Think of those who are hopelessly burdened by addiction or depression. Sometimes we do get to a place where we just can’t go on. That’s when we must rely on God’s strength and not our own.
I realize that it is easier said than done. Part of the problem is that many of us do believe that we can handle it and we don’t really need Him in our lives. I know that I have been there. I have felt alone and abandoned by God but in hind sight I realize that in most of the situations I was trying to go it alone. I deliberately turned away.
I also believe that one of the ways God helps us through those times is His Church. If God’s people would truly love Him above all and then love one another, we could bear one another’s burdens when they become to heavy to carry alone. I know I have benefited from other believers helping me get up and keep moving. I do my best to do the same for others. When we stop and put our trust in God we do see that in our weakness He is strong.
Grace and peace.