“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I just heard that on Christian radio the other day. Before that, I heard it in a sermon. It sounds like Gospel truth, doesn’t it? It’s a nice, warm, fuzzy thought. No matter what you are going through, don’t worry! It may feel like the floodgates have opened right on top of you and you are going to drown. But no matter what happens, you can handle it. Yay!
Except it’s not in the Bible.
That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, except that the opposite is actually true.
God has a habit of giving people more than they can handle.
In fact, I’d say that God has to give you more than you can handle.
God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle…Unless You’re One of These Guys
When people say “God will never give you more than you can handle,” they’re misquoting a line from 1 Corinthians. Paul actually says that we will never be tempted beyond what we can resist. (And that’s in the context of not getting drunk at communion. So…yeah.)
When I read my Bible, I see all kinds of people who were given more than they could handle.
Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Job, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Mary, Martha, Paul. We wouldn’t really have a Bible if God was in the habit of only giving people what they could handle.
All of them had more than they could handle. They complained. They groaned. Sometimes they prayed that God would kill them. Doesn’t sound like the cozy Christian life, huh?
When I think about my life: my job that exhausts me, my wife’s and my quest for a child, all the little demands on my time and the fear that I’ll never accomplish the big things on my heart, I cry out to God, “This is more than I can handle!”
A Very Special Thorn Just For You
After Paul’s mission to Jerusalem has blown up, he has been arrested, deported to Rome, shipwrecked and thrown in prison, he says that God sent a very special thorn, just for him! Nice going, God.
And then God tells Paul that when he is overwhelmed and has too much to deal with, He is strong enough for both of them.
God never would have been able to tell Paul that if He had only given Paul what he could handle.
We always use this nonsense that God will never give us more than we can handle at the times it makes the least sense: the loss of a job, or a spouse, or a child, or some catastrophe. It is more than we can handle! We all get thorns that we wish God would take away because we can’t handle them.
If God Is Only Giving You What You Can Handle…
As much as we’d like to think that God will never give us more than we can handle, it’s actually critical that we learn the opposite is true.
If God is only giving you what you can handle, you’ll never have to be dependent on God.
If God is only giving you what you can handle, then you are staying in your comfort zone.
If God is only giving you what you can handle, then you aren’t growing.
If you want God to use your life for something great, it’s going to be more than you can handle. God’s plans are huge! If God’s plans relied on human limitations, He’d never get anything done.
In fact, if you can handle everything that God has given you, it means God doesn’t trust you with very much.
But don’t worry, God’s going to give you way, way more than you can handle, and then pick up the slack.
When was the last time you heard that phrase? What do you say to people when they say it? When was the last time God gave you more than you could handle?