Fact or Fiction–God Will Never Give Us More than we can Handle
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
How many times has someone encourage you with the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle”? Have you experienced the truth of this statement during your lifetime? Or, do you, like me and countless others, question the validity of this statement?
When Paul included this verse in his letter to the Corinthians, he clearly said that no temptation (to sin) will overcome us that would be greater than we can bear. But most of the time, we interpret this verse to mean than God will not allow us to suffer greater pain than we can handle during the death of a loved one, or a relationship, or illness, or a myriad of other afflictions. When we take this scripture out of context and replace it with our own meaning, instead of encouragement we become discouraged. Why? Because each of us has experienced a pain greater than we can handle by ourself, so for someone to tell us that God will not give us more than we can handle just does not ring true.
Rather than taking a verse that was dealing with sin, and using it to assure people that we will not suffer anything greater than we in our own strength can endure, wouldn’t it be better to listen to Jesus’ words that tell us in this world we will have trouble, but take heart, because I have overcome the world! John 16:33.
Look at both 2 Corinthians 1:4-10 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 which are far more applicable to our endurance during suffering.
2 Corinthians 1:3-10 (ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I want to point out something in the 2 Corinthians 1:4 scripture you may have never noticed. When we suffer, especially because we are Christ Followers, that suffering is not only comforted by Christ, but we can take the experience of being comforted and share it with others. Is that awesome?
Additionally, Paul says that we are allowed to suffer so that we will not place our trust in ourselves, but in the Christ who has delivered us and will continue to deliver us. Can you see the difference between saying that a scripture about sin tells us that God will never give us more temptation to sin than we can handle, and a scripture about affliction, where Jesus says He will pour out His grace upon us to enable us to handle life’s events?
Using the scripture referencing sin to show God’s grace places the emphasis on us–God will not give US more than WE can handle, but utilizing the scripture about affliction places the emphasis where it belongs, upon GOD.
Prayer: Father God, we ask that you would help us rearrange our thinking, so that, as we seek holiness, we would be transformed to know, believe, and understand, that when our focus is on You, then we will have all of the grace we need to make it through this journey we call life. In Jesus’ name.
Peace to you,
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