“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
Has anyone ever said this to you?
Well guess what, honey. It just ain’t true! Sorry to burst your bubble. 🙂
God DOES Give You More Than You Can Handle
God absolutely does give us more than we can handle in life because he wants us to learn to rely on Him.
I was recently interviewed on a new podcast called the “I Witness Podcast” with Kelly Jo Wilson. Kelly and I talk about trusting God through challenges, as well as the peace that God gives in the midst of those circumstances.
This was a two-part interview and you can listen to both episodes here:
Context is King
So, why do I believe God DOES give us more than we can handle? And why do so many Christians think he won’t?
Well, I think the original phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” was taken out of context from I Corinthians 10:13, which says:
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (NLT).
This verse is specifically talking about temptation. When you are tempted to sin, God will always provide a way of escape. You are not a slave to sin.
BUT… this verse does not apply to other trials and difficulties. In fact, there are other situations in the Bible where people WERE given more than they could handle.
Overwhelmed Beyond Your Ability to Endure
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, Paul tells the believers about a trial he was facing. He says:
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die” (NLT).
Have you ever felt like Paul did? Have you ever been weighed down with a difficult situation — the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a new diagnosis, a sick child — that you felt “crushed and overwhelmed beyond your ability to endure”? Maybe you thought you’d never live through it and you feared you might even die.
Paul can relate. He was in a very dark place. I’m pretty sure he would have declared as well: “Yes, God DOES give us more than we can handle.”
The Purpose of Suffering
I don’t want to leave you in despair. I don’t want to leave you wallowing without hope.
The rest of the passage in 2 Corinthians says this:
“But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10, NLT).
Did you catch that? As a result of Paul’s crushing, overwhelming trial, he stopped relying on himself and he learned to rely only on God.
Have you been relying on your own strength to get you through a trial? God wants you to rely on Him. That’s the whole purpose of our suffering. When you are faced with more than you can handle, when you are crushed beyond your ability to endure, cry out to God and rely on His strength alone.
Confidence in God
Paul says in verse 10, “We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.”
None of us know if God will rescue us from any particular trial in this life. But we do know that God is WITH us in our trials. He gives us his comfort and his peace in the midst of horrific circumstances. We can place our confidence in Him.
(Listen to my interview with Kelly Jo Wilson to hear more about how God gave me peace beyond understanding during my son’s heart surgeries).
God is a God of Comfort
But before you go, I want to show you one more thing from the passage in 2 Corinthians 1.
Just before this section when Paul talks about his overwhelming trouble, he talks about how God is a God of comfort!
“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT).
He comforts us in our troubles, SO THAT we can comfort others!
I talk a lot about “redeeming the chaos” in my household of boys. Well, God’s mission is all about redeeming your suffering.
Have you been comforted by God in your suffering? Maybe God wants to use you to be a comfort to someone else.
Get in touch and let me know about at time that God has comforted you in your suffering, and how you have been able to comfort others who are going through the same thing!
Also, if you know someone who might be encouraged by this blog post, will you share it with them?