“Well, like the Bible says, God will never give you more than you can handle,” the tornado survivor said to the news reporter on TV.
Her words caught my attention. I had heard something similar a few weeks before in a Christian song on the radio. That night, I looked through my Bible and did an Internet search on the topic. I needed to know where this idea came from.
After an exhaustive search, I discovered my hunch was correct. The idea that God will never give us more than we can handle isn’t found in Scripture. (At least not in the way tornado survivors—and the rest of us—typically use it).
A Dangerous Twist
This statement likely derives from 1 Corinthians 10:13, which states, “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.”
This verse isn’t about difficult circumstances. It’s about temptation. It seems we’ve taken it out of context and applied it to other areas of life.
Instead of banking on the idea that our lives will never overwhelm us, the Bible calls us to depend on God when situations become more than we can bear. There are countless verses in the Bible that show this, and one of my personal favorites is Psalm 121:1–2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Believing that God will never give you more than you can handle is dangerous to your spiritual life for two reasons.
Reason 1: You could believe that if life feels unbearable, God must have abandoned you.
My husband had a rock climbing accident that left him with fifty-three broken bones and permanent partial paralysis. (Read more about it here.) He miraculously survived, but he will never be able to run again and will have to use a brace to walk for the rest of his life, unless the Lord intervenes.
My husband will tell you that this event proved to be way beyond what he could bear. It even caused him to contemplate suicide multiple times. If he had believed that God would never give him more than he could bear, his accident would have shattered his faith along with his body.
If you believe this lie, then when hard times do come, you may think that God has abandoned you. If you cannot bear something that’s happening, He must have forgotten about you, right? Wrong.
In Joshua 1:5 God promises, “I will not leave you or forsake you.” God has not and will not abandon you, even when life feels unbearable.
Reason 2: By avoiding the unbearable, you’re missing an opportunity to learn.
If we are willing, God will use difficult times to show us His faithfulness and teach us how to be more like Him. When life is more than we can handle on our own, we tend to read our Bibles more, pray more, and even praise God more. Doing this teaches us new things about God because our hearts are hyper-aware of our need for Him.
Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” No matter what comes your way, God is using it for good and for His glory. We may not understand it on this side of heaven, but we must trust that God does.
The Gift of Too Much
Life will bring more than you can handle at times. In those times, we can turn to God, knowing He is never, ever overwhelmed.
If you’re in an overwhelming season right now, you can lay down the false idea that God will never give you more than you can handle, and instead turn to Him, asking Him to carry what you cannot. Consider praying Psalm 121:1–2 as a prayer right now.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.