One saying I hear all the time is, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Looking through the lens of the Bible I propose the question, “Is it true?”
Also, it makes sense that we should turn to the Bible because, well, the Bible inspired it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “God… won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear… He will provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Before turning to the Bible, let’s take a look at life. What does life teach us about this saying? Perhaps it wouldn’t be too comforting for a parent who just lost a child to an accident, or to someone diagnosed with clinical depression or a terminal illness, or to a Christian being tortured by ISIS for his faith… right? So, how does the Bible reconcile the profound suffering that we experience in life at times?
(By the way, some of our suffering is due to simply being rascals! You know, sowing wild oats, making ungodly choices. It’s a good thing to discern why you suffer so you’ll know whether repentance is in order or not. Anyway, I digress.)
The apostle Paul and his missionary companions experienced suffering “beyond their ability to endure, so that they despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9.) Paul was the one who authored the verse that inspired the saying, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”! Now, operating from the presupposition that there are no contradictions in the Bible, the way all of this is reconciled is with the following truth:
The way we are going to be able to handle any overwhelming temptation, trial, or tragedy in life is by relying on God’s strength! After Paul wrote that he had despaired of life itself, he wrote that his trials “happened that he might rely on God.”
It is possible to be more than conquerors. To take down the Goliaths in our lives. To walk in the reality that, “Life is hard but GOD IS GOOD!” Another way to put it is to borrow Jesus’ words, “In this world there will be trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”
So, I propose we no longer say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”, because, well, it isn’t true. Rather, let’s say, “Take heart! God will carry you though it, if you allow Him to.”
—Paul & Danica Bartelme have been married for 22 years and have three children age 12 years and under. Jacob (12), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 11 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.