You’ve heard it before. You’re going through a hard time. Work is tough. You’ve lost someone you loved. Your life isn’t going the way you want it. Then someone who cares about you comes along and says it’ll be OK because God won’t give you more than you can handle. But it doesn’t feel like that during these times, does it? Probably not, and no one should expect otherwise.
God promises us a lot of things. He promises to guide, to teach, to love, to help and to save us. But nowhere in the Bible does God promise that He won’t give us more than we can handle. This well-meaning phrase has extrabiblical roots in Christian culture. People say it as a means to comfort someone and remind them that even though times are hard, they could be much harder but God holds them back from us.
However, if we look at this section from one of the apostle Paul’s letters in the Bible, we’ll see that things happen all the time that we can’t handle on our own and that God is our source of strength and perseverance when going through them:
I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. (Philippians 4:11-13 MSG)
So, what should we say if God gives us more than we can handle?
Instead of saying God will give you more than you can handle, say this instead:
It’s not that God won’t give you more than you can handle. It’s that God helps us handle what we are given.
When we’re going through a hard time, we need to remind ourselves that God didn’t give us these times or He’s holding back something worse. These are just moments in life that happen as life happens, but God is by our side to help us through them so that we may have the peace and comfort we cannot achieve on our own.
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