Brandon Bachtel, Lead Pastor
Life is hard. As people, we often experience toil, labor, pain, death, sorrow, suffering, disease, affliction, financial burdens, and much more. We are easily discouraged and often feel pushed to the brink of collapsing. As people, we have come to believe that God might allow us to be pushed to the max, but we take comfort by saying, “God will never give us more than we can handle.”
Have you heard this? Have you said this to someone lately? Believe it or not, this is a worldly belief, not a biblical teaching. The thought that “God will never give us more than we can handle” is not found anywhere in the Bible. The thought of this idea most likely originates from 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (NIV)
In this verse, Paul is speaking of God’s provision and escape in the midst of temptation, not suffering. Although many people believe that “God will never give us more than we can handle”, biblically, you can make the case that the statement above is simply not true. Matter of fact, the Bible is a picture of broken, fallible people; faithfully following God in the midst of difficult circumstances, simply because we trust God with our lives.
Paul wrote to the church of Corinth and spoke openly about his suffering.
In 2 Corinthians 11: 24-28, he speaks of his suffering. “24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
As I read that passage, I reflect on my own life. I am certain that everything I just read would be far more than I could handle on my own accord. Matter of fact, as I read the following verses, I am overwhelmed with the challenge that Paul faced. Was Paul stronger than us? Was he just more faithful? Maybe, but I think Paul understood, that our weaknesses and hardships were an opportunity to boast about God in the midst of our weaknesses. Consider 2 Corinthians 11:30, 30 “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul states, “7bTherefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
As you may notice, Paul’s life was challenging. The bottom line, life is hard. It is challenging. We will face hardships, persecution, difficulties, weakness, sorrow, death, pain, and much, much more. However, what you and I should know is that in our weakness, Christ is strong. When we are at the brink of giving in and throwing up our hands, we should lean on God.
So, when someone says to you that, “God will never give us more than we can handle.” Please do not buy into that lie. Sometimes God will allow us to bear so much in this life, that we have no choice but to lean on Him, look towards Him, and to allow HIM to be strong in the midst of our weaknesses. Simply put, “God will NEVER give you more than HE CAN handle.”
Believe or not, God did not expect you to handle your hardships on your own. He wants you to “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
Life is too hard for you and I to handle on our own. We must trust God, follow God, and depend on Him in the midst of weakness and difficult time. Will you try to continue to believe that you have the power to handle the anxiety throws your way, or will readily admit that you need Christ and His power?