How many times have you heard or read the very opposite:
"Well, y'know, God will never give you more than you can handle."
I hear it A LOT! Especially when someone is offering comfort to the grieving or those going through severe trials.
The problem is, it doesn't really provide a whole lot of comfort. Usually, it makes the person on the receiving end feel like, "well, I must just be the greatest failure and biggest wimp in the history of the world . . .
Because I. CAN'T. HANDLE. THIS!!!"
And like, "Wow, I really better "buck up;" better muster up a whole lot more strength, and TRY, TRY HARDER, before everyone sees what a colossal loser I really am!"
You see, it places the focus on what I can or cannot do; whereas I believe the Lord would have us fixate on what HE can AND WILL do (Hebrews 10:23; 12:2-3).
The other problem is it's not what the Bible teaches ("minor" detail 😃).
In my experience, the person who makes that statement usually cannot reference the Bible passage they got this from (I'm generalizing. Every once in a while, the person does know the exact scripture reference). It's become one of those platitudes we're convinced is in the Bible, somewhere, but can't cite chapter and verse. Almost like, "God helps those who help themselves."
I'm not trying to be critical. I just think it's important to know what the Bible really does say.
What do you think of the following paragraph from the book, "Lifetime Guarantee," by Bill Gillham?
"In chapter 11, we'll discuss the need for "brokenness." Most of us have only a hazy understanding of what we're to be broken from. We must be broken from trusting in our fleshly ways. Often they have been so productive that GOD MUST ALLOW SUFFERING TO COME INTO OUR LIVES THAT OUR FLESH CAN'T HANDLE."
Does this contradict a well-beloved Bible truth, or does Bill Gillham have a point, here?
Which is biblical?
It sounds to me that "God gave me more than I could handle!" is exactly what Paul is saying in II Corinthians 1:8-10:
"For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, ABOVE STRENGTH, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
But we had this sentence of death in ourselves, THAT WE SHOULD NOT TRUST IN OURSELVES, but in God, which raiseth the dead:
Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;"
To me, it sounds very much like God deliberately gave Paul "more than he could handle!"
Paul says he was completely out of his depth; in way over his head! The situation was "above strength;" it was beyond all Paul's own ability. He "despaired even of life:" everywhere Paul looked, the circumstances spelled out only one thing: "Paul, you're as good as dead! There is absolutely no hope; you are not capable of even surviving this."
But the "death sentence" was an integral part of God's strategy for His beloved child: "but we had this sentence of death IN OURSELVES, that we SHOULD NOT TRUST IN OURSELVES, but in God, which raiseth the dead."
God purposely DID give Paul "more than Paul could handle," so Paul would HAVE to give up on trusting in Paul, and would have no option left but to trust IN GOD!
Galatians 2:20: "Not I, BUT CHRIST."
Paraphrase: I can't.
Major Ian Thomas used to say that the whole, basic message of the Bible can be summed up in God saying to us, "You can't; I never said that you could.
I CAN (and I WILL!), I always promised I would!"
The passage from which we get the idea God never gives us more than we can handle is also written by Paul: I Corinthians 10:13:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
The Greek word translated "tempted" is 'peirazo.' It is a word that can refer to temptation to sin, or to being tested by trial and affliction.
Though many apply this promise to the trials we suffer, the context is all about the children of God being tempted to sin. That's what makes the most sense.
I don't think it's saying God always "provides a way of escape" from our trials.
If there IS a God-given way of escape from our trials, will someone please point me to it? Sometimes, wimp that I am, I sure would at least like to have that option!
Kidding (sort of)! 😆
Great news! If you're a child of God, no matter what the temptation, you DO NOT have to sin! God won't tempt us above what we're able, and always provides a way of escape.
But I believe He has His purposes for allowing us to go through trials that sometimes are "more than we can handle."
At a recent gathering of our beloved Deaf Church, we played a Thanksgiving game. We were each given a sheet that had all 26 letters of the alphabet, in order, with a blank line next to each one. We were to list one thing we were thankful for for each letter of the alphabet, A to Z.
For "Z," I put Zechariah 4:6:
"This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Yep. I am eternally thankful for Zechariah 4:6.
Because sometimes, my dear friends, I will tell you what . . .
I do believe God gives me more than I can handle.
See also II Corinthians 3:5 and 12:9-10.