My family and I have been walking through a painful, hard season for two and a half years. In that time, I have lost count of how many people have said to me, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I know they are trying to be nice and I know that when they hear our story… they really do not know WHAT to say. Nonetheless, I hate the saying that is often the default statement for Christians in times of trouble. “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I dislike this mantra of hard times for two reasons:
Reason One: This statement is found NO where in the Bible.
The closest verse to it is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where the bible tells us:
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.
Reason Two: This overused phrase in Christian vernacular implies that we should and could be able to handle all of the problems of this life alone.
That is the type if thinking that allows Satan to fill us full of pride and self reliance. This mentality that we are promoting by making that our tagline for troubled times is really saying…. “If God gave this to me I should be able to handle it so I don’t need help from him or anyone else.”
This mentality has been pounded into generations of believers as we have recited this mantra to one another time and time again. However I challenge it and believe it is 100% the wrong message to send to one another. In God’s word he tells us:
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
God allows us to endure more than we feel we can handle to pull us closer to him…. not to drive us away from him in self reliance.
Our troubled times should drive us to our knees to seek God’s help and direction not send us out to seek our own solutions. Giving God our troubles and releasing them to him should be our first reaction instead of our last resort.
We were not designed to do it all ourselves! We were programed for partnership with a loving God who is walking with us every step of the way. He is present in every moment, every struggle, and every joy…. he is simply waiting to be invited to be an active part of each of them.
I do not believe or agree with the saying that God will never give us more than we can handle… because we are not meant to handle them alone. However, the truth and perspective that I have discovered is that We can NEVER give God more than what he can handle!
I love, love, love THAT truth! Maybe that is the phrase that we should remind one another of when we struggle from now on… you cannot give God too many problems. Give him your struggles- all of them- there is nothing too big ( or too small) for him to handle!
This month our LeadHer Local chapters are going to be talking about Purpose in Pain because as James says in chapter 1, verse 2 of his short book in the New Testament, Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (NLT) The apostle doesn’t say if troubles come… he says WHEN because troubles, heartache, and pain are part of life in fallen, sinful world.
This month our members talk about not how to avoid pain… but how to change our perspective on it. Our teaching video challenges women to change the way they are viewing their difficulties and to turn to God instead of pushing away from Him. I am sure it is going to be a powerful month for many of our members as God reminds them that he is good and loving at all times… not just the good and easy times.
The painful times are never easy… trust me I know. However, the painful times have a purpose- you need to be willing to trust God, listen to Him, and allow Him to show you his plans.