Getting More Than You Can Handle: The Truth About What God Gives
The first time I heard someone say it, I thought God a cruel deity. The second time was after I’d read the whole Bible and couldn’t wait to set the record straight.
She decreed it to a crowd of us during a lady’s retreat, “God never gives us more than we can handle.”
Snapping back without a single vowel of love in my voice, “God doesn’t give me anything I can handle.” Her confidence turned to shock, and it was obvious she was embarrassed, maybe even insulted.
I rest my case.
I was a snarky young Christian. Frustrated with false teaching I was edgy to shed. All head and no heart.
Here’s what hurts my ears when this statement gushes out of context, “God knows you can handle this.” “Stay strong and believe in yourself.” “You got this.” (Whatever this is.) No one adopts these phony proverbs and faces disaster feeling supported, sufficient, and brave. Truth be told, when the walls are falling down, they leave us stranded, desperate, and afraid.
These are the dangers of not knowing the Bible first-hand. False phrases flood conversation and our hearts walk home alone.
If we could handle our misfortunes and flaws singlehandedly, why on earth would we need Jesus on His knees in Gethsemane?
Let’s explore the verses used to spread this silly sentiment: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape [emphasis mine], that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Co 10:13)
By nature, escapes are rarely a piece of cake. Most involve tight places, deep-breathing patience, dodging threats, and worrisome danger. But God promises the course of faith in Christ is the very peace that shall sustain us to the end.
Trouble strikes, and no tragedy is exclusive. But you’re not without help, loved one. Not by a long shot.
God gets fired up when it comes to His kids.
David, a man after God’s own heart, was on the run. King Saul seethed with envy over David’s popularity with the people. Stalked him 15 years expecting to kill him. The future king of Israel wrote this song on the day the Lord delivered him from his insatiable enemies.
(Pause for just a moment. Ask God to help you own the imagery of this remarkable Psalm.)
The pangs of death surrounded me,
and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
and cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled;
the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken,
because He was angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils,
and devouring fire from His mouth;
coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
with darkness under His feet.
The Lord thundered from heaven,
and the Most High uttered His voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe,
lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
the foundations of the world were uncovered
at Your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me,
for they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me. (Psalm 18:4-9, 13-19)
This is music for our ears, you guys.
Thick clouds. Hailstones. Coals of fire. Thunder and lightning fill the heavens when God hears you calling. Why? Because God gets fired up when it comes to His kids.
When temptation surrounds the foundation of your heart, and traps are set outside your door, remember Jesus will never leave you. He hears. He conquers. He wins. And not in a small way. The sound of your cry shakes the sky. Arrows like lightening make way for your escape. For when we are weak, then we strong.
Lord, help us trust You with our whole heart, not leaning on our tiny understanding, but coming to You with all our questions. Make our way blameless, turn us from evil, grant rest to our flesh and bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)