THE WORD: Does God really only give us what we can handle?

Published 10:12 am Thursday, May 30, 2019

I think about the statement many people say in times of immense suffering, “God won’t give you more can you can handle.” But those words aren’t in the bible. That statement is not biblical. God does say He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and that He always provides a way out: No temptation has overtaken 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.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

God doesn’t cause bad things, not God’s intent, but God does allow them to transpire. I think it’s not because God is powerless or uncaring, but God allows them for us to draw closer to God and God’s power. The world is filled with people who are dealt more than they can handle. And it might be surprising that the Bible is, too. Consider what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1: 8-9 8

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead (NLT).

What do you say to someone whose life is falling apart? If you have but few precious minutes with a person who’s lost a job, home, spouse, child or all sense of purpose, what comfort do you give? We might turn to conventional wisdom instead of Scripture and end up saying something like, “Don’t worry, this wouldn’t happen in your life if God didn’t think you could bear it.” The sufferer may object, head shaking and hands up.

But you insist, “The Bible promises God won’t ever give you more in life than you can handle.” There it is —conventional wisdom masquerading as biblical truth. You’ve promised what the Bible never does. If we apply Paul’s words about temptation to general sufferings, you can see where the line “God will never give you more than you can handle” comes from.

I don’t doubt the sincerity and good intentions of those who use this phrase, but sincerity isn’t enough. Even Job’s friends meant well.

No, God doesn’t expect us to handle this. God wants us to hand this over to Him. God doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. God wants us to rely solely on His strength. Yes, God may give us more than we can handle. But God always has eventual good in mind. We don’t have to like it, but maybe knowing this can help us live through it.

REV. JOHN MOXLEY can be reached at jmolxeydillwyn@gmail. com and can be heard live each Sunday at 11 a.m. on WVHL 92.9 FM.