I have always lived believing that “God won’t give me anything I can’t handle.” Where did that saying come from anyway? I’m not sure who started it as a ‘Christian mantra’ so to speak. However, I no longer believe that. I don’t believe it’s Scriptural, and I had to learn the hard way. I believe God does the exact opposite in fact.
I’m not the first person to blog about this topic or search for answers. Google it and you’ll see what I mean. I’m not posting anything new here…mostly collecting some thoughts from others.
It seems the main verse Christians use to back up this belief is 1 Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Aaron Armstrong blogs, “When Paul writes that God will not tempt us beyond our ability, he means that we are never in a situation where have no other choice but to sin.” If you read the rest of Aaron’s blog you’ll see he talks about being in difficult situations and having to choose the right thing even though it is the hard thing. He also gives several Biblical examples of God giving men and women more than they can handle.
Nicole Cottrell also has a great blog post on this topic. Here is a snippet:
Christianity is not the guarantee of an easy life, but the abundant life. It makes us uncomfortable to think about suffering loss and God allowing that loss. Don’t get me started on Job. It wrecks me. God wants us to cling to Him, though, to hold onto Him for dear life sometimes, because, without Him, we would drift away into nothingness. We will suffer greatly, at some time in our life, and it is because of our sufferings and through our sufferings that we can become more like Jesus. Paul wrote, for example:
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ and, if sharing in His sufferings is one way, then so be it. I accept the idea that God will, perhaps at more than one point in my life, allow me to experience such pain and loss that I will be broken under the weight of it. Then I can look to my Lord, the lover of my soul, and cry out to Him, knowing He is the only One who can save me. (And if I forget, I have this blog post to come back to at that point.)
I think, especially in America, we forget that Christianity is a call to suffering. I am overwhelmingly guilty of this. I have had such a comfortable life. I’ve heard people preach on this topic and seen other people have hardships. I’ve heard about Christians in other countries in their suffering. I am going to admit: I had thoughts like, ‘Those people must be so strong in their faith. God wouldn’t allow that to happen to me because He knows I would never survive.’ Yes, I have actually thought that.
In his blog, Aaron Armstrong talks about Paul and how he boasted in his suffering (2 Corinthians 11:21-30). Aaron notes that Paul is reminding us that God will give us more than we can handle so that we completely and utterly rely on God (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). He states:
God is making it clear that we are not self-sufficient. We cannot just hunker down and power through every situation. And we cannot white-knuckle our way to holiness. We need Him.
So maybe we need to stop seeing the trials and adversity in our lives as a burden, as an indication that God doesn’t love us. Maybe we need to start seeing them as proof that God indeed loves us very much—so much so that He will not let us try to rely on our own strength, but continue to show us that we must rely on Him to endure suffering and persevere until the end.
What a paradigm shift for me….to go from thinking “God won’t allow certain things to happen to me because I would fall apart” to knowing “God will absolutely allow anything to happen to me if it means I become more dependent on and more in love with Him”.
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.