Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Something's buggin' me ...

Have you heard, maybe even recently, the phrase "God doesn't give us more than we can handle"? Usually, the statement is sincere, caring and sympathetic intending to bring comfort and strength to someone going through a difficult situation. I saw this phrase on a woman's blog today that had endured a hardship and it just bothered me. How many times does the person go away feeling like a failure - because they can't, in fact, "handle it"? Or, perhaps even mad at God, because they feel like He has given them more than they can handle?

Although the sentiment is sincere and sweet - is it Biblical? If it's true, where can I find Scripture to support it?

Did it originate from 1 Corinthians 10:13? No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.

In one of Beth Moore's Bible studies, I remember her stating that this verse is talking about temptation and not every difficult circumstance. (side note: I briefly glanced at the original Greek, and from my novice eyes, it seems that it could possible include some types of trials as well, but for this post, that is irrelevant)

Can Christians get to the point where things are more than WE can handle? I think the answer is: YES!!!

But, take heart - can Christians get to the point where things are more than HE can handle? An absolute NO! Praise God, NO!

The difference is in only one tiny little letter - the difference in meaning is HUGE. The truth is, we will have circumstances in life that are way more than we can handle. But meditate on this:

John 16:33"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."

especially the part "so that in me you may have peace"... and "I have overcome the world."

I just need to know that in those circumstances where I am way over my head, beyond what I can handle, overwhelmed by the situation ... that I can have peace. IN HIM! Even when I can't handle it, He can.

And, I hope, when you are going through a difficult circumstance, that you know that you can have peace IN HIM. And I think it's okay to feel like you can't handle it - He can!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this - please feel free to leave a comment. If you have a Scripture reference that makes the original phrase valid, I would love to hear that as well. I love God's word and desire to know Him more through it.



  1. That dog will hunt (i.e. that sermon will preach) as they say in these parts of the country. Yes, I think you are absolutely correct in that there are times in our lives when it seems we cannot handle the situation. Why do you think drugs and alcohol are so prevalent today? It's because when people hit those hard times, they turn to those things for help as opposed to turning to God. In speaking from personal experiences, God does not give us grace to handle the difficult times in advance. We might not be able to handle things going into a trail but as we go through difficult times, He gives us what we need so that we can make it to the other side with His help. Hope my two cents help get rid of that "bug" you are dealing with! :)

  2. I am so grateful that I am more than a conqueror because of Him.

  3. God doesn't give us more than *we* can handle - *We* being Him and I...well, mostly Him!

  4. I think this was a much needed post. I have said this phrase to many and also been told it a thousand times. Thanks so much for sharing this! In Him all things are possible. On my own they are not.

    I love that you supported this from scripture!!


  5. It's true. We are not meant to handle things beyond a certain point. Otherwise, we could be God. And we can't. If he never gave us more than we could bear, we wouldn't need Him.
    I never thought of it this way before and I appreciate you pointing it out. Like so many other platitudes we hear and sometimes adhere to, it's just not in the Bible. Thanks.

  6. AMEN Sister (actually, sister in law! It's Rob)
    2Cor 1:8 (NIV) We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
    9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
    10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers.

  7. Great words of comfort! Thanks, Nancy

  8. Hi Shirley,
    I am back online with a monitor shared by a friend's husband!
    I have thought about this many times also. I have had a life with many many hard times and I have seen how this can be a trap if you do not look at it the right way. We will go through many times of good and many times of hard. Either way God remains the same. Whenever we try to define what is too hard for ourselves we go to a much safer feeling level..for most of us that would not include ANYTHING that feels bad! When hard things come upon us we are given a lot of opportunity to see God work in our life and an opportunity to become more appreciative when things are going well. I say that after going through hard times that have been very very long and very very hard...not a couple of hard days and then I am done with the hard. He is teaching me that he is there and he is real no matter how hard the hard hurts or feels to me.
    I love this post because I do think that there is much guilt for those who can't get away from the depression or stress that goes with a hard time and then feel guilty and non Christ like because they hurt and felt so bad. When we start to give up because of those feelings or become distant to God because of them..there is only one cheerleader out there that is happy for that..it is Satan..anything that makes us question God gives him his highest level of happiness. When we stay away from God we don't grow and when we don't grow we also don't share God with others...and when we don't share God with others Satan feels he has us on his winning team.
    wow Am I long winded....must be a week with out being able to blog!
    Thank you for your prayers..work wise we are being tested in this very area right now. But we still have had food on the table each night even though the freezer is empty and the cupboards nearly are also but we are getting by.
    Blessing to you today Shirley....Kim


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