Will God give you more than you can handle?
Somewhere along the way, an obscure verse by Paul in 1 Corinthians has given many the impression that God will hold back any challenge, test, or temptation that is beyond your ability to overcome it.
The problem with this interpretation is that it still leaves a lot of questions about just what God will let through this “safety net” that He is supposedly going to provide.
Will God keep my business profitable because I can’t “handle” losing business?
Will my family always be healthy so that I don’t have to deal with suffering?
Will I be tested lightly because I am less capable of someone else who can “handle” more?
If we read what Paul says, you will find that it doesn’t quite fit the idea that you will be tested only to the limited of your own abilities…
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
In this translation, “temptations” could also be interpreted “tests”. So it rightly is talking about challenges that we will face in life.
Nowhere, though, does it say that you will be able to handle all of life’s tests under your own power. Instead, “he will SHOW you a way out”.
In the American church, I believe this bad understanding of dealing with hardship has been set into motion by our own false feeling that God’s ultimate goal for me is to be happy and successful. That is the “American way” after all, right?
If this were true, God would have to repent from most of what he did in the Old Testament, and would definitely need to apologize to all of the apostles in the New Testament.
God REGULARLY will give you more than you can handle because he’s trying to teach you a deeper lesson that the joy of success and happiness.
God wants you to learn to depend on Him and NOT on yourself which is the subtle message that is sent by saying “God WON’T give you more than you can handle.”
See, it that scenario, God limits the really bad stuff to only the stuff you can deal with on your own.
In that case, you have no further need of God than to be your spiritual line of defense against hardship.
God’s purpose for you is to grow more like Christ, who also dealt with extreme tests in his life.
instead, God is inviting you to trust him through all of your trials, temptations, and sufferings.
That NEVER happens when we believe that we can handle whatever life throws at us by ourselves. Instead, God allows you to suffer so you will come to the absolute end of yourself and cry out for him to rescue you!
So if you are suffering as a parent…
If you are about to lose it at work…
If you are panicking over your finances…
If you want to give up on your spouse…
If you are ready to give up on life all together,
God is urging you to cry out to him and stop relying on yourself. It is his love for you that moves you to become more like Christ and stop relying on yourself.
You see, once we come to the end of ourselves, we finally have the opportunity to see God in all of his glory and to be empowered by more than just ourselves.
Paul learned this the hard way, too:
5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:5–10 (NLT)
If you are in a difficult time, cry out to him and he will show you a way out so that you can endure. If you feel to weak to be up to the task, you may be exactly where God wants you to be.
If you have been questioning whether you should jump out in faith to pursue something God has placed on your heart…have faith and draw strength from the one that is constantly working within you.
Excellent piece. Many times I have heard that statement “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Thank you for clarifying and correcting it.