“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. I’ve said it. You’ve probably said it.
I don’t say it anymore.
See, I don’t think it’s Scripturally sound. (It actually takes me quite a bit of nerve to admit that in wide-open web-space.) Now, I know that the Scriptures say that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. But does that also mean He’ll shield us from anything else we can’t bear? I don’t think it does. In fact, I think life is more than we can handle. For the sake of discussion, I’ll do us all a favor here and narrow the lens just a bit.
I think we go through seasons in life where our immediate portion is particularly difficult to manage. Usually it involves some type of suffering, pain, stress or discomfort, and the magnitude of whatever it is we’re going through knocks us flat on our haunches – broken nose, dislocated shoulder, sprained ankle and all. Yet a race still begs to be run. But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to failure. On the contrary…
When we are weak, He is strong. When He is strong, we see Him everywhere we look. When we see Him everywhere we look, we live life to the most very full! We draw near to Him and He heals us, carries us, shoulders our burdens…whatever it may be that we need in the moment – He shows up, and He cares for us.
If God never gave us more than we could handle, what of the trials that we are to consider joy because our tested faith develops perseverance which, in turn, renders us mature and complete? What of being hard-pressed, persecuted, struck down? What of Job?
I spent a few minutes planning my week earlier tonight. I wrote down every appointment or event I have scheduled, along with multiple to-do lists titled ‘Housework’, ‘Yardwork’, ‘Work-work’, ‘Biblework’ and ‘Runningwork’. And I walked away from my previously pristine calendar now covered in ink with just a few conclusions:
1. There is no way in the world that I am going to get everything on that calendar taken care of. No way.
2. I shouldn’t be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, I should present my requests to God so that the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
3. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
4. He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond all I (or the bossy calendar on my refrigerator) could ever ask or imagine…
5. His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness.
6. My times are in His hands.
There’s a certain amount of freedom in taking that monstrous calendar, lifting it heavenward and admitting: I can’t even begin to handle this. Because you know what’s amazing about God? He will never give us more than He can handle.
And He can handle everything.