I was listening to the radio today and heard “I’m reminded that God never gives me more than I can handle when I listen your station.” I hate hearing that. It’s entirely misleading and untrue! We will ALWAYS have to face MORE than we can handle.
1. We blame God. The statement suggests that all of the bad things in our lives are “given” by God, the world is fallen and broken, sometimes bad things just happen. What if we are “given” more than we can handle? We are left with no option but to blame God, after all He would never let us go through something we couldn’t handle on our own, right?
2. God becomes a motivational speaker. We can handle anything that comes our way, just believe that God is in your corner telling you that you can do it and you’ll make it through anything. When we use this statement we push ourselves toward positive thinking, using God as the launching pad but not actually needing Him. He becomes an observer and nothing more.
3. We don’t need God. Using the term “gives us” is like being told you are up to bat, and given the bat, you may even know how to use the bat but you’re standing in the batters box all alone. The situation, tools and abilities are given but we are left to deal with things on our own. God calls us to relationship, which is a daily interaction. This concept suggest that if something hard comes our way we say “Thanks God, I can handle this” and leave Him in the dust, pushing through in our own strength and wisdom. We are convinced that we can do it because of who He has made us to be, but we aren’t pushed to be in relationship with Him in the moment and ask for His help with each step we take. The Holy Spirit whispers instruction in our ears, tells us which pitch to swing at and even warns us of things we can’t see, he stands beside us and never leaves us alone.
Why this is a false concept.
Here is the passage that we are referring to when we make this statement:
1 Cor 10:13
“13 No temptation has over taken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
As you can see it has nothing to do with normal daily challenges, or difficult situations at all beyond temptation. Related to temptation this passage tells us that there is a point where we could be beyond ourselves but God intervenes and allows us a way out.
Here is a passage that is more accurate to difficulties and life’s situations:
“12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength.”
So the reality of our position with God is that we will learn to be content and make it through everything because we have Christ strengthening us.
This changes everything! There is no promise of comfort or protection from difficult times, just a promise of God’s presence and contentment throughout whatever comes our way.
A more accurate statement would be “God will ALWAYS be with me WHEN I face more than I can handle and He will help me make it through ANYTHING.”
Here are the contrasting results of a right understanding of God and scripture:
1. We trust God. Not to make us comfortable but to be with us, every day and in every way we need. We also understand that He doesn’t give us bad things and hard times, a fallen world and simple natural consequences to human actions are enough to cause bad things.
2. We rely on Him. We learn to ask God for help when we feel we need it. We learn to turn to Him at weak points and in difficult times. We realize what it means to rely on the Holy Spirit and the strength and comfort He provides.
3. We need Him. We learn what it means to need God all of the time. To have a relationship with Him where we talk and ask for direction and strength, where we read His word for direction and don’t rely on ourselves or our own wisdom but His.
So please, PLEASE stop saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle. You’re lying to yourself and to others and you’re going to be disappointed because things are going to get hard along the way and they will be more than you can handle – without God’s help that is.
On the other hand, be assured that you can trust Him to never let you down in the moments where you feel weakest because when you rely on God, the whole world sees you making it through things that no human being could ever do without supernatural help. And He will help you make it through, that is a promise. (Hebrews 13:5)
Here is what Paul says about it:
2 Cor. 12: 9-10
“9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”