As I see people around me hurting and thinking it’s all under control, all I can think–it’s time to squash a fallacy. False teaching has found a home in hospitals, funeral homes, churches, and many of our minds. You have heard it, maybe you’ve said it or even believed it. Now it’s time to think about it. The saying comes in many forms but goes something like this: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” It’s a lie, at the very least a misunderstanding. Let me explain. The misunderstanding comes from:
1 Corinthians10:13, …God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability…
The word to highlight is “tempted” which roots in the Greek peirasmos. As one man said “[peirasmos is] itself colorless and depends upon the context for its specific hue.” When you read the scripture around verse thirteen you’ll find references to idolatry, desiring evil, sexual immortality, the inability to serve two masters, and conscience. All of these address sin, not necessarily circumstance. This is why, when we read the word “tempted” or “temptation” in this verse that is exactly what it is, temptation; not test or trial. Many have gone deeper in reference to this word study but for this discussion we’ll continue on.
To clarify then, God will not allow the temptation you face in life to be so burdensome that you must say “No” to Him and “Yes” to sin. I also want to be clear and say God does not tempt us, see James 1:13. Still, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond the power available in us, our community, and Him; though it is a gruesome battle.
While reading Scripture we find many places that tell us about people socked by circumstance.
1 Samuel 30:1-6, David and his men have lost their families who were burned to death by the Amalekites. In verse six David strengthens himself in the Lord. We could nearly refer to the entire book of Job, the Imprecatory Psalms, the psalms filled with jeremiad, the father in Mark 8:24, or the woman in Luke 8:43. Consider the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, where he speaks of being overwhelmed beyond his ability to endure and he stopped relying on himself and LEARNED to rely only on God who raises the dead.
You could even look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, where we find the grace of God is sufficient and the power of God is being made perfect in weakness.
So, we can look at Scripture and life and see that God “gives” us more than we can handle. He allows circumstances and the result of sin to plague our world. In response, it only seems fair to begin to answer why.
When we are overwhelmed, when we are left with the broken pieces of our lives, when we have no words to express where we are…God is there. Jesus Christ has suffered as we suffer, and He cries with us.
Our world is fallen from God, mankind is fallen and sin infects it/us all. The beautiful thing is–God is able to use the brokenness mankind has chosen. When death strikes the ones we love, when sickness drains us or those whom we are closest, when addiction hits someone close to us, when our homes and relationships are broken, it is then we begin to see sin for what it is. In these moments we see sin in a different light, we begin to hate sin more the way God hates it.
In the hardship and through our weakness we become stronger, because God is our strength. Nothing can or will empty, exhaust, bruise, or pinch you quicker than life. The Good News, if you are willing to go to Christ, God is able to fill you back up! Christ is able to bring restoration!
We are certainly encompassed by more than we can handle. However, God wants to use the fire of life to refine us and He wants you to know, even though others mean your pain for evil, God will use it for something beautiful. Through your pain, through those broken pieces; God wants you to be closer to Him, to see differently, and trust Him as He makes something beautiful out of a mess.
1 Peter 5:7 summarized says, Cast your anxieties on God.
So now I want to encourage you to do something–throw your fears, worries, questions, suffering, and pain on Him! Jesus says: Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28), that’s not all He has to say to you…