One of the biggest lies in the Christian life is:
“God will never give you more than you can handle”.
It’s a nice sentiment (and I understand that those who say it are trying to encourage), it even sounds true but it’s complete nonsense and it’s really, really bad theology.
What we see promised in God’s Word is that we’ll never be tempted beyond what we can deal with (1 Corinthians 10:13) but we’re never told that God will not let us suffer more than we can bear or face trials that we’ll be able to face on our own. The Bible actually tells us the opposite about suffering. Rather than minimising suffering or pretending like it won’t be painful, the New Testament is full of warnings that suffering is something we can all share. Paul, the great Apostle Paul, once said that he faced a burden so great that he despaired of life itself (2 Cor 1:8). If that is true of Paul, how much truer is it of us?!
It may be the death of a loved one. Perhaps a marriage break up. Maybe it’s a miscarriage or being unable to have children. It could be singleness or loneliness. Maybe it’s an illness in your family or some health news you’ve had yourself. It could be something completely different that is too much for us to deal with ourselves.
This, then, raises a question. where do you go when God gives you more than you can handle? How should we respond?
God let’s us go through more than we can handle so that we will run to him. Run to Hik like a child would run to their father. He knows what we’re going through. He knows that you are at the end of your tether. He knows that it’s all too much.
And he stands there with His arms wide open, ready for us to run to him…
You see, when we can handle things, we forget about Him. We can leave Him alone. When He stands there with his hands open ready for us to run to Him, we turn and run in the opposite direction.
Yet when everything becomes far too much for us, we become less and He becomes greater. When we lose that which is nearest and dearest to us, we will draw closer to Him and that is what He wants. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:9 that God gives us more than we can handle so that we would rely on God.
Jesus himself said the same, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). He acknowledges there will be burdens, He understands that sometimes it all gets too much but opens His arms and says come and lay your weary head on my chest.
When God gives us more than you can handle, we should run to him because God is able to help us. God will give us more than we can handle—but not more than he can handle. It’s important we understand that. One of my favourite Psalms is Psalm 121. Verse 2 reminds us that “our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth”. Not any old person. Not our earthly fathers or spouses… no! Instead we run to one who is so great He made heaven and earth. When we have too much to handle and we run to Him, we can trust that God will help.
His help will ultimately end with us being with Him and God uses the times he gives us too much to focus our eyes on Him and what He is doing. When we are given more than we can handle it makes us focus on better times to come. Not something next week or month but as Paul writes, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). Our trials seem far from light and momentary but in the context of eternity’s glory they melt into insignificance. Sometimes we need that jolt back into an eternal perspective and only being given more than we can bear achieves that. Yes, God will give you more than you can handle in this life, but the coming weight of glory, when we go to be with Him, will be greater than you can imagine.