Over the past few weeks in speaking with friends that are going through difficult situations, I have heard this saying repeatedly: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” On one particular day while driving home from work, I was speaking to a dear friend of mine who has endured many hardships, trials and losses this past year. Finishing up our conversation, my friend was praising the Lord and giving him glory. Her last comment was “but its ok, the word says, ‘God will never give me more than I can handle.’” Hearing it this time was different; it did not settle in my spirit.
You know that feeling you get deep down in your gut that lingers? Well, that is the feeling I had. I asked myself, “Where did that phrase come from?” I could not recall reading that in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. Now, “God allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can bear” is far different from “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I understand the intended purpose of this statement is to bring encouragement and comfort. However this statement also places the burden and weight on the individual and their ability to “handle it.”
The truth is: in this life, we are going to encounter many trials and tribulations that are more than we can handle. There are things that are far too great for us to bear relying on our natural strength. It is in these times that we need to come to a full dependency on God and cry out to him. In him, we are able to endure. The Apostle Paul confirms this in 2 Corinthians 1:9 Paul said, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead”. In John 16:33 the Lord tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”How does one handle the death and or near death experiences of loved ones, crisis with their children, extreme financial difficulties, separation or divorce in their own strength? How about when these tragedies are occurring simultaneously, and for extended periods of time? It’s impossible! The Lord brought to my remembrance the early years of my walk of faith when I was experiencing all of the trials I just mentioned, and it was a four year stretch! On my own, I made messes. I myself was a mess! I was stressed, depressed, and I was filled with fear, anxiety and despair.
I heard the Lord say to me that the enemy had released an arsenal on me. Immediately the Lord gave me Deuteronomy 20:1 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 20:4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. It was then that it became so real to me that I was not alone. I did not have to “handle it” on my own. God goes with me; He fights for me to save me!
It made me think of Peter in Luke 22:3 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” I took comfort in knowing that the Lord himself, is interceding for me that my faith in him would not fail. It is through faith that God gives us the power to affect circumstances. It is faith in knowing that with God all things are possible, that the greater one lives and dwells on the inside of us and that the Holy Spirit is our helper. It is faith in knowing that he is our strength and our shield, AND when our hearts trust in him we are helped. The word tells us that his strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is not by our might, nor by power, but by his spirit says the Lord God almighty that I can come to him when I am weary and burdened, and he will give me rest. I can cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me. And as crazy as this may sound: every trial and hardship endured is worth it, so that we may strengthen our brethren.
Written by Becky Huston. If you would like to contact Becky, you can reach her here.