More Than You Can Handle?
When bad things happen, this quote springs to action: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But is that true? Today we discover why you shouldn’t want it to be. The idea that “God will not give you more than you can handle” seems to be a misquotation from 1 Cor. 10:13. Here’s what it actually says: 1 Cor. 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faith- ful, 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. The context of the entire chapter is about obeying God when tempted, and the promise that God will provide a way out of temptations if we seek His help. It is similar to Hebrews 4. Hebrews 4:14–16 (ESV) 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with conﬁdence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and ﬁnd grace to help in time of need. JESUS Himself, the one who conquered sin, will help you through the temptations you face! And that should point us to prayer when temptation visits. But sadly, in our world of fast-food- Christianity, we probably know more cultural slogans than Christian Scriptures. Hence, we come up with the concept that ‘God will not give you more than you can handle’ - and this usually ends up putting us in 1 or 2 dangerous ditches. Ditch #1: SELF-RELIANCE. Some say, “Since God won’t give me more than I can handle, I must be pretty tough.” But this seems to bypass the need for God’s help in the ﬁrst place. This is not about how resilient we are, but how faithful God is! Further, God's presence can most often be sensed through His people who show up during tough times. Ditch #2: BLAME GOD. Some seem to believe that everything they go through is a direct action of God. Yet the Scriptures are clear that God doesn’t want people to sin. So when someone sins against you (e.g. gossip, slander, abuse), this is not the direct hand of God, but the direct action of those who disobey Him. While God allows evil, this does not mean He initiates nor condones evil. The truth is, we ALL face more than we can handle on our own. Maybe you ARE or soon WLL BE in the spot. The apostle Paul and his ministry partners were. 2 Corinthians 1:8–11 (NIV) 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received 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 again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. Paul and his companions felt like it was the end. They were ready to call it quits. They were forced to a place where they KNEW it was far beyond what they could handle, but it wasn’t bigger than God could handle. So they set their hope on God who raises the dead. If He can do THAT…there is nothing beyond His ability. AND…Paul thanks his brothers and sisters who help us by your prayers. BIG TRUTH: Tough times drive us to seek God’s Presence & God’s People. And what a GREAT PLACE TO BE, that is! 1 Peter 5:6–7 (ESV) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. AND Galatians 6:2 (NIV) Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. The law of Christ already referred to is to ‘love your neighbor like you love yourself’ (5:14), and consequently, to ‘serve one another in love’ (5:13). Tough times drive us to seek God’s Presence & God’s People. What happens when we don’t Seek God’s Presence and God’s People? We walk through all that hurt…ALONE, powerless, and blaming God rather than THANKING HIM. Whenever you come to that place that you realize God WILL allow you to go through stuﬀ you can’t handle, join the club of folks who recognize their need for the Creator and those made in His image. God doesn’t leave His people alone when tough times come. HE is with us (Matt. 28:19-20; Heb. 13:5) & His people stand with us. Don't go through your struggle, temptation, or tough times alone. Seek help from the God of Scripture & His people. DON’T wait until the TOUGH TIMES come… …to seek God’s Presence & God’s People.