There is a lie being told! It is being told in secular as well as Christian circles, on greeting cards and inspirational posters, and don’t get me started about how many times you see it on Facebook. Calling it a lie may be too harsh because it implies intent to deceive, so let’s call it a misrepresentation.
I’m talking about the saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” You usually hear it when you are in need of encouragement or comfort. It is usually spoken out of genuine love and concern or maybe because someone doesn’t know what else to say.
Many people think it’s Biblical, and it sure sounds like something from the Bible but you won’t find it anywhere in Scripture. The often misquoted verse is;
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you get tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Paul is clearly talking about temptation, not suffering.
When someone is told that God won’t give them more heartache, pain, suffering or burdens than they can handle it often has the opposite affect than the intended comfort. It can be discouraging, making you think that you should be able to handle whatever it is just because God has allowed it.
Most of the time the polite response is, “I just wish God didn’t think I could handle so much.”
But what they really mean is, “Are you kidding me? I can’t handle any of this!”
That was my first thought when I was diagnosed with cancer. I had always considered myself a strong person, able to take care of anything, however I realized right away that I didn’t possess the strength needed to deal with the “hard” that came with cancer.
Thankfully there is this promise in Matthew:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
This verse gives us the blessing of knowing that we don’t have to ‘handle it’ or carry our burdens alone. At times in our lives God may give us burdens that are much too heavy for us, but Jesus promises that in Him we will find rest for our souls.
He is calling us to lean into Him and find that He lightens the load we are carrying; that He will make life bearable when it seems anything but.
Knowing that life will bring things I can’t handle just makes me rely on a loving God who can. So the next time you hear that phrase just give it a new spin …..God will give you what you CAN handle with Christ, Who will give you strength, as you’re… just living the thing.