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Yes, God does give you
more than you can handle
Growing up, I used to hear my mom tell her friends all the time that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, and it seems clear that He didn’t think I could handle much!”.
It was a way of complimenting me and my two sisters for being good kids who (mostly) followed the rules. And if I do say so myself, we were pretty great.
But as sweet as my mom’s statement was, it is really 0% correct.
I am sure that like me, so many of you have come to points in your life where you have just been rocked by a devastating situation. And if you believe in the mantra that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” it can be so overwhelming thinking about managing those things with just the skills and gifts you’ve been given at that point in time.
But the thing with trials is that they weren’t meant to be faced alone. For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, we can rest assured that we don’t ever have to tackle anything in this world on our own. Which is AMAZING news! Especially from someone who hates to do anything (at all) on her own.
The last 5 years for me have been full of things that I literally could not have handled on my own. You can read more about them here, and here, but for dramatic effect, I will list them for you below.
- Got married
- Bought a house
- Changed jobs
- House damaged by 10 inches of water in a flood
- Got pregnant (exciting surprise!)
- Husband lost his job (6 months)
- Lost our baby at 21 weeks
- Moved back into our house after 7 months with my parents
- Got pregnant (not a surprise!)
- Became a mother
- Had major surgery to remove a cyst bigger than my baby
- Lost our house due to damage by 18 inches of water in a flood
- Once again living with my parents, but now with a baby (it was just as you are imagining it)
- Bought a new house and moved to the burbs (something I never thought I would do, but am thankful I did)
The majority of those events have taken place over the course of just 2 years. It has been a lot to take in as a couple in our twenties who have very little experience actually being adults. We have had to make decisions that I don’t think a lot of people ever feel prepared to do if they ever have to at all. We were not qualified or equipped to go through any of those struggles and they were certainly much greater trials than I was able to handle on my own.
“God, doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
I’m calling bull crap.
This world gives you infinitely more than you can handle. But where you fall short (which is actually all the time), God is there to fill in the gaps (more like gaping chasms). When you feel overwhelmed by the things going on in your life, those are the points where God is begging for you to turn to Him so He can help walk you through it. To say that God is only giving us what we can handle is arrogant and will only lead you to feel like a failure when you find yourself not up to the task.
I do believe that this common saying that we find all over Facebook and Get Well Soon cards from your grandma’s friends, did come from a well-meaning place. Although ‘God doesn’t give you more than you can handle’ isn’t 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. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (NIV)
But there is a big difference between temptations and trials. You may get stuck in a pickle because of decisions that you made due to temptations, but sometimes bad things just happen to you. Sometimes your entire city floods along with your house (and your grandparent’s house that you were remodeling and planning to move in to). Those things are trials and that is where God is waiting to support you through it.
My favorite verse, John 16:33, gives an amazing amount of hope to those who are facing troubling times.
“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.“ (NIV)
The Bible guarantees us that we are going to have hard times while on Earth. If you haven’t experienced anything tough, I can confidently say that your time is coming. BUT THE VERSE DOESN’T STOP THERE!
The best part of this verse is that Jesus follows it up with a reminder that He has already beaten everything that we might face and that He will be with us whenever we come up against any bumps in the road. There is nothing that we might face that stresses Jesus out in the least, and that is why I can press on through anything that has come my way. Because God is with me and He has already cleared the way.
So, yes, God does give you more than you can handle. Not to be mean to you, but to bring you closer to Himself. If you are going through something difficult right now, and someone offers the words “Don’t worry, God won’t give you more than you can handle”, you can politely correct them and say “Actually, yes He does, but I have hope because He is with me through this fight”.
I would love to hear about how God has shown up in your times of struggle. Feel free to share in the comments below!
If you have questions about how to get to know more about Jesus, feel free to reach out to me at Mattie@growingthegivens.com. I would love to talk to you more about Him!