“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
It’s a popular phrase that I’ve heard a lot in Christian circles. Sometimes it’s almost used as a joke. “God won’t give me more than I can handle, but He sure does trust me a lot.”
The truth is, that’s not what scripture says, and it gives a false sense of God and His character.
What scripture does say is that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). It doesn’t say that God gives us temptations, but that He won’t let the temptations become too much for us. There’s a large difference between God giving us something and God protecting us from something. James 1:13 is very clear on this subject: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.”
The idea that hard times are given to us by God can be damaging and makes it sound like He is the one who is causing our pain and our grief.
The phrase also points to an unfair and unjust system, which is the opposite of God’s character (Job 34:12). Why should Person A be given more hardships just for being stronger than Person B?
Job is a good example in scripture of someone who was given more than any one man could handle, but God was not the one who gave him those tests and trials. Satan was the one who came against Job, and even then God limited the enemy in what he was allowed to do (Job 1:12).
Today, we have even more of God’s protection. The enemy can no longer come before God and accuse us because Jesus serves as our advocate. 1 John 5:18 says that He holds us securely, and the evil one cannot touch us.
Even so, life in a broken world is often more than we can handle.
No parent should go through the pain of losing their child. No child should bear the weight of abuse. No person should feel the need to contemplate whether or not their existence matters.
In 2 Corinthians 2:8-9, Paul wrote to the church, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”
Have you ever been there? Burdened beyond your strength?
Paul continues, “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
We were not built or equipped to handle everything the world throws at us; that’s why we needed a Savior. A more accurate phrase for Christians to use is, “We can never be given more than He can handle.”
Because there is no burden too large or too small for our God. There is nothing the enemy can attack us with that we can’t surrender to the one who is abundant in power and love for us.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33