One day last week I drove through the beautiful western New York countryside. The hills were rolling. The day was filled with budding trees, new flowers, and all the sweet awakenings spring has to offer.
Yet my mind was focused on anything but peace. Our family was going through a difficult situation with one of our pre-teen children, and my mother heart was anxious.
Every parent has struggles. After parenting our own 5 children plus 35 foster children, my husband and I have had plenty of angst. But this particular situation seemed over-the-top, and I cried out to God in prayer and frustration.
“God, you are giving me more than I can handle!”
Have you ever felt like God gives you more than you are up to the task of managing?
Perhaps a well-meaning friend has even said something to you along the lines of, “Don’t worry. Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.”
This advice, besides lacking in comfort, isn’t true. This is a misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 10:13, “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.”
This verse is not saying God will not allow you into any situation beyond what you can handle.
Hear this truth today, my dear friend. God continually allows situations that are beyond your ability to handle.
Instead, God will not put you in any situation beyond what He can handle. Notice God is the One providing the way out. Always, God is faithful.
When you are in a tough situation, where do you turn? Do you lash out at God in anger? Do you turn away from Him entirely?
Consider that God gives you more than you can handle for the very reason that He loves you so much.
This is a hard reality for us to consider, because perhaps it’s easier for us to think of only certain aspects of God, yet read these words from 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Think of your spiritual mentors – women and men you look up to as strong spiritual leaders. These are not people who have had an easy life. Faith is refined in the fire.
Painful Situations Are Full of Temptation
Not every painful situation is because of our sinful choices, but oh how pain is surrounded by temptation on every side.
When you are in those dark moments, wouldn’t you agree that it’s so easy to slip into bitterness, pride, and envy? The world will tell you that these are understandable and even acceptable considering the difficulties you are experiencing, but that’s not what the truth of God’s Word tells you.
Think about the situation I was experiencing with a wayward child. How easy it would be for me to slip into unchecked envy of other parents, and bitter longing for this child to make different choices. How quickly I could cause lasting harm to the mother-teen relationship.
When you are going through a time that you feel God is giving you more than you can handle, you will be tempted with bitterness, selfishness, envy, and other sinful desires. Our enemy works hard during this times of trial, and we are at a point of weakness.
Recognize your vulnerability. Now more than ever it’s important to spend time daily reading God’s word so you can withstanding the flaming darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). Surround yourself with Christian friends who will hold you up while also loving holding you accountable.
When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle
The next time God gives you more than you can handle, as he did for me on that long New York drive this Spring, I encourage you to do two things.
- God never gives you more than He can handle. Turn to God your Father. Pray to God and ask Him to handle this burden that is too heavy for you to carry alone. He promises that He will! Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
- God never gives you more than we can handle. Turn to Christian friends, as together we are the body of Christ, to bring you comfort. God has designed his church on earth to be a blessing and support for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”)
There will be times in this life when you face incredible difficulty and pain. You will question why God gives you more than you can handle. During those times, remember that your faith is being refined. God never gives you more than He can handle, and never more than we an handle as the body of Christ together.
Have you gone through a time when you felt God gave you more than you could handle? What brought you through?
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So true — that well-meaning phrase, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” doesn’t really comfort, but rather a misrepresentation of God’s word. Thank you for being honest and pointing that out. (I found you through Emily’s link today. Nice to “meet” you.)
Thanks for stopping by and the comment, Lilly!
Walking through cancer caregiving for my son, people quoted this to me often – meant to be comforting. But I wanted to scream at them that I passed what I could handle long ago, and it was still coming! I didn’t scream, but I have become convinced that I have definitely been given more than I can handle, but that God handles more than I understood! 🙂
Larissa Traquair says
I have learned this for sure: Instead, God will not put you in any situation beyond what He can handle. Notice God is the One providing the way out. Always, God is faithful.
So GR8TFUL to figure out this truth before I kept saying it to others. We are currently walking through our cancer journey that is way beyond what we can handle – BUT GOD!!! He has been so faithful!!!!!
Thanks for your comment, Larissa. I’m sorry to hear your family is dealing with cancer. Huge HUGS to you today. Thankful along with you that you are able to rely on God as your guide and comfort.