“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
That is a common belief, a common saying; you hear it in sermons, loved ones repeat it, pictures quote it …and in times of struggle; a wonderful promise and encouragement.
But I don’t know that I necessarily believe it.
Many people refer to 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say God won’t give us anything we can’t handle.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
But that is clearly referring to temptation. Referring to those times when sin entices us to make a choice; either to give in to it or turn from it. God will always provide a way out of sin, but not always out of the storms and trials He allows in our life.
The Bible tells us that we will struggle, and be pushed to our breaking point.
“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9
Sometimes trials are allowed because we need to learn or change something. But sometimes they are solely for God‘s purpose and glory. His strength is seen more clearly when we are unable to control things; when we are broken, weak, desperate and “have no hope,” when we have nowhere else to turn, but to the One who is hope.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. “ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Job suffered greatly;
Cattle, crops, and children were taken from him.
“The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword…The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them…The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword… sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead…” Job 1:14-19
Painful boils over his entire body.
“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.” Job 2:7-8
Paul suffered greatly;
He was beaten and imprisoned.
“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.” Acts 16:22-23
He was faced with incredible danger.
“Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” 2 Corinthians 11:25-27
So many believers suffered extreme hardships and were often fearful of death. They had been tested so severely; they were so broken, so beaten, and they felt they couldn’t go on. Obviously they did, so I suppose they weren’t given more than they could handle, because they weren’t dead…
My heart aches for a dear friend of mine facing some heavy burdens in her life right now. She has given her life to and wants to glorify God, and has taken some absolutely amazing strides in her walk with Christ. It is astounding to see how much she has changed from a woman who wanted to control everything and fought to do so, to a woman willing to give that control over to a loving and faithful God.
But my friend is broken.
She is pleading and begging God to take this burden from her, and I echo her sorrowful song.
I see the confusion and desperation in her tear filled eyes. I see it in her downcast face. I see the weight of it in her burden laden shoulders. I hear it in her mournful prayer to our great God…
But as I watch her, I see a quiet strength within her. As I see her questioning and at wit’s end, I also see arms reaching out, asking her Father to pick her up and comfort her; fists un-clenched and open, offering Him her heart, her life, her burdens…
I see sad, despairing eyes lifted up toward the heavens.
I see a woman begging for answers, lying in a heap of despair, desperately trying to hear God’s voice and reaching out to touch the corner, just the hem of Jesus’ garment. (Mark 5:30-33)
Does God give us more than we can handle? Absolutely. When there is nothing left of us and we are at rock bottom, we have no other choice but to look up.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
“but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:4-10