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“He Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle,” and Other Lies I Have Believed

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Lately, I’ve felt a little bit like Peter in Act 10:9, praying on my roof. And yeah, here’s a super cheesy selfie, with my face cut off, of me chillin’ in my new favorite spot. Please appreciate my attempted photography skills of getting the roof and the trees in the background!

Acts 10:9

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.

 

The struggle continues. The season in life that I find myself in is not a pleasant one. I have spent much of my time with God lamenting, mourning, or simply crying over the brokenness of this world and the fact that I must suffer through the effects of it. In all honesty, it seems like more than I can bear.

The thing is, I had always convinced myself that God would never pile on more than I was capable of handling. In fact, other people reassured me that my feelings were true, too. When I approached others in tears and distress, I found that there was one consolation that was reiterated to me time and time again – “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Somehow, I never really found comfort in that line that echoed through my cries for encouragement, and I wondered why. Why was the promise of limited suffering so unconvincing?

BECAUSE IT’S NOT TRUE.

There was never a promise that when we think we have had enough, God would put a cap on our pain, and certainly never a promise that God would leave us to our own vices to cope with worldly circumstances alone. He won’t give you more than you can handle. Do you see that? The problem with this statement is that we put too much emphasis on our own strength and not enough on God’s. It implies that we don’t need a divine intervention in our lowest valleys. Desperation for a loving and powerful God is omitted.

To be clear, the scripture that the false claim derives from is 1 Corinthians 10:13, in which it states:

There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

This verse is talking about temptations, not negative events that transpire in our lives. It establishes our human limit to resisting temptations, our weaknesses as a free-willed creation. However, it provides hope. God is faithful. There is no proclamation that we can make a way for ourselves; it is only through God’s faithfulness that we even stand a chance of escape from darkness. My point is, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” does not ring true in accordance to scripture because people assume that the “more than you can handle” are trials and sufferings, not temptations. The statement is taken out of context because of its vague nature.

My heart can’t take the corruptness of this world, the brokenness in my family, the stress of student life – the injustice, the fear, the utter darkness. It drains my soul. Maybe we are overwhelmed with more than we can bear only so that we may turn to Him and find rest in His power.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  –Ephesians 6:10

 

 

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