I once knew a women who maneuvered her way through a very difficult situation. Her husband divorced her and left her for another woman. Sadly, he left behind four children, and the young woman was left to tend to them alone. She was a stay at home mom prior to her husbands betrayal, which meant she didn’t have a job or the money to care for her family. She then proceeded into the workforce to find a job, however, in the process she tragically injured her back. She was left with no husband, no job, no money, and excruciating back pain. The pain became so dreadful that there were times she could not walk, let alone take care of her family.
This sweet woman was a dear friend of mine, and I remember coming over to her house on many occasions because she could not physically do things on her own due to the injured discs in her back.
Life was at a standstill for my dear friend. She couldn’t help her children, she couldn’t get a job, she couldn’t move about, her life was in shambles! But some of the most agonizing words I ever heard uttered came from her during that time. She said, “If God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, then how come I can’t handle this? I’m dying inside!” With that she wept uncontrollably.
I never forgot the words she shared with me that day. But I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes either. Nor, could I help but wonder if God really was giving her more than she could handle. She was, after all, living a nightmare! It just didn’t add up!
I thought about the words, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Over and over again in my head, and knew something had to be wrong with this cliché saying. So I decided to look up the Scripture, and here is what I found…
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Nowhere in this Scripture does it state that God will give you more than you can ‘handle!’ It’s not implied, nor should it be! It says, “God will not TEMP you [with temptations] more than you are able.”
According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary Temptation is: A strong urge or desire to have or do something, and especially something that is bad, wrong, or unwise.
Would you call injuring your back, the death of a loved one, a health issue, cancer, or losing your job something that you desired to have or something that you caused unwisely? The answer is a gigantic NO!
Better yet, if we are supposed to have a ‘way of escape’ as the verse above implies, what would our ‘way of escape’ be from such things? If a love one dies what is the ‘way of escape?’ I can’t think of one! However, if we sin, we are tempted, and thus have the option to ‘escape’. Here is what I mean. Lets say in your past, you were an alcoholic. A friend temps you to have a drink of beer. At that point you have a choice to make, drink the beer or not. Your way of escape would be to not drink the beer. Or you can choose to indulge in the sin. With sin there are always options. You can choose to sin, or not. It’s your choice. With life situations, they are beyond us. We can’t control or choose a way of escape in such situations.
All these years people have gone around saying the cliché, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” And it’s a lie! I’m guilty too. I’ve said it to many people before and sadly, I’ve said it to my dear friend above. It’s so wrong! God never said he wouldn’t give you more than you can handle; nor did he say your life situations will be bearable. He said, he will not temp you with temptations to sin, beyond what you are able. If this is not evidence enough for you listen to what Paul says in the verse below…
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die.” 2 Corinthians 1:8
Even Paul was burdened beyond his ability to endure! It’s right there in the Scriptures! If Paul was burdened beyond his ability, don’t you think we too can be burdened beyond our ability to endure? I believe so!
Now that this cliché has been debunked, we are left with one question: If God DOES give us more than we can handle, then how are we to handle life situations? Now that is the question!
The answer, is found in the verse above following Paul’s cry to God that he was unable to endure.
“But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
Paul says as a result of him being unable to endure, he learned to stop relying on himself and start relying on God! This is exactly what we need to do in such situations. If you lost a loved one, have a health issue, have cancer, lost a job, lost a child, whatever situation you are going through, rely on God, rely on His Strength. Because with God, we can endure all things! Not of our own accord, but with God! Learn to rely on his strength, rather than your own. For God WILL GIVE you more than you can handle, BUT we must rely on his strength when going through such situations. Because with God all things are possible!
In closing I want to say that I did clear things up with my friend. Once she found out that God did give her more than she could handle; her life changed! It was like a huge weight had lifted from her shoulders! She then understood what God meant and I am here to testify of the great things God did in her life since then. She understood that God was there with her helping her through the situation and not expecting her to ‘handle it on her own.’ We need to speak truth in such situations; especially when people are going through difficult things.
Love you all!
Also blogged on www.vineoflife.net