Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

Life will give us too much, and the promise is in the midst of it.

Recently, I was going back through my journals and I read words I had written years before: “God, I can’t handle this anymore. I don’t know what to do, but I can’t do this.”

The circumstances in my life had become overwhelming, everything was crumbling, and my world was falling apart.

To be honest, if someone had come alongside me at that point and tried to reassure me by saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” I may have punched them square in the face.

That tired, old phrase often sounds more like a taunt than a comfort. When we are down and out and feeling discouraged, hearing those words can cause us to feel like we are not measuring up. It causes us to ask, “If I am supposed to handle this, then why can’t I handle it?”

The truth is, God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle.


The truth is, God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. There will be times in life when you will feel like you are drowning and there is no one to help you.

The words that are meant for encouragement can often serve to only create discouragement. Worse yet, this phrase can tempt us to ignore our suffering and pretend it’s not there. It can lead us to believe the lie that we can do it ourselves; that we can handle it. Which raises the question, “If we can handle anything that comes our way, then why do we need God at all?”

We need to realize that sometimes we can’t make it on our own.

So, where did the phrase about God not giving us too much come from? To answer that question, we need to go back 2,000 years to a small church in the city of Corinth. The Apostle Paul wrote them a few letters, and in his first letter, he reminded them that all people are tempted and often choose to do the wrong thing. Paul’s warning is tied to the reality of temptation and sin that meets us everyday.

With his warning he also gave a promise. He wrote, “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” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is the verse that is so often misquoted.

With regard to temptation and sin, Paul pointed out that we always have a choice: engage in sin or run from it. The promise is that God will always provide a way for us to run from it.

Let’s be clear: Paul was talking about temptation, not suffering.

With temptation, we have a choice, but with suffering we often don’t have a choice.

A few months ago, I sat with a good friend who had just learned of his son’s terminal diagnosis. He wept and said, “I’d do anything to give my life for him.” It was one of the most powerless feelings I have ever experienced. All we could do was sit together and weep.

He did not choose this.

In moments like these we feel ground to dust. Rather than stand and proclaim that we can handle it, we should imitate Jesus.

The night before Jesus was executed, He cried out in the garden, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Jesus told His father, “This is too much for me!”
We see this kind of thing in the Psalms, too. The Psalmists ball their fists in rage, and shout at God, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22) In their sadness they say, “darkness is my closest friend” (Psalm 88).

What these verses teach us is that it’s OK to feel like we can’t handle it, like we are going to give up. We can cry out, “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” And when we do this, we find God—the one who, in the person of Jesus, suffers with us.

When we become aware that life will give us more than we can handle, we find a promise: God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain.


When we become aware that life will give us more than we can handle and come to grips with this, we find a promise: God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain.

And when He does, we learn to recognize our constant need to depend on Him. This is why Peter instructs the Church to cast our fears, worries, suffering and pain on God. He reasons we can do this because God cares for us. When life deals us more than we can handle, we can rest in the reality that God can handle it.

But, if we’re honest, even this can seem like a tired old phrase. Because when it really hurts, God can seem so far away. This is where you and I come in. We need each other to move ahead, and we need far more than tired old phrases.

In times when life becomes unmanageable, we need to be willing to walk alongside one another. When we do this, we put flesh and bone on the person of Jesus. We can be with one another in the midst of suffering, helping each other carry the weight. Which means, that we, as the Body of Christ, have an opportunity.

When we are willing to sit in the pain, to walk with one another when life’s path is difficult and to shoulder one another’s burdens when they are too heavy, we become an embodied promise. We become living proof that while life can sometimes be too much, through the goodness of our loving of God displayed within us, we can move forward together.

Top Comments

chad

1

chad commented…

2 Corinthians 1:8,9-- "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. 9Indeed, 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." =)

David Weber

1

David Weber commented…

The Lord declares that His grace is sufficient for every painful situation we will ever encounter (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Because of His abundant goodness, kindness, and love for us, we do not have to succumb to discouragement, give up hope, or walk away from His plan. We will know God’s grace is working in us when . . .

We have the strength to persevere. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God releases His supernatural power into our life so we might endure (Acts 1:8).

A spirit of confidence in Him is ignited within our hearts and minds. Grace helps us believe that God will bring good from our troubles (Rom. 8:28).

We sense His presence with us. When grace is at work, we will be conscious of the Spirit’s abiding support.

Our focus shifts from our trials to the Lord. Grace helps us shift attention from our situation and emotions to God’s sufficiency.

We trust that God will bring us through this—and not just barely through, but with deeper intimacy and greater faith at the end.

We are assured of God’s sovereignty. The Lord knows our frailties. So He has promised to limit our trials to what our weaknesses, strengthened by His power, can bear (1 Cor. 10:13).

The apostle Paul had been through shipwrecks, imprisonment, and beatings—difficulties far worse than what most of us face. Yet he didn't quit, because he drew on God’s grace and found it sufficient for every circumstance. Where do you need an infusion of grace in order not to give up and walk away?

45 Comments

chad

1

chad commented…

2 Corinthians 1:8,9-- "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. 9Indeed, 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." =)

Franque Michele

1

Franque Michele commented…

Interesting. This article addresses the fallacy in a message, but I believe there is more fallacy in the way people interpret the message. People who think they can handle anything are in denial. He won't tempt us beyond what we can bear. The rest we are to give to him.

We are to admit when we are overwhelmed

We are to give it to God!

"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 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" (2 Cor 1:8,9, emphasis mine)

The message in clarity is that we are to give our burdens to God. He will bear them for us, even when we are overwhelmed. In that way through our Father we can stand through all things.

nigel

1

nigel commented…

I agree with the Author. I believe in God but I am not a practicing Christian.I have many Christian relatives who I am close with and respect greatly,so I have no bias with any one persons belief..However since a child and i am in my 40's now, I went to many funerals and seen many sick friends and family members.And every single time either the priest,pastor,reverend whichever, will always quote " God will never give you more than you can bear". And I always noticed that the grieving family member/s will wail more than before and even I myself would wonder "how is that helping ?" the person is dying or dead.I know that satan Is the ruler of this world so it is not God giving you more you can bear it is the devil. It always bothered me but this Is the first time In all the years I decided to look for that scripture through google because i am not bible versed and lo and behold it is not a scripture at all.So it explains why these people are just repeating this like an old recording. So if it is not an actual word from God its time these Christians or otherwise learn something more encouraging or appropriate to say to their followers because as the Author said it really irritates you and you just want to say- "Shut Up will you.Thanks".We live in the world ruled by satan which we dont have control over thats why we'll always get more than we can bear. But God does not want us to be a part of the things in the world which we DO have control over. I think thats the time we can ask God to keep the devil at bay to get an ease from the burden we wll have to carry at another point in this life. Remember Jesus did ask to have his burden lifted but he knew his fate but he Is up there now to lift ours If we so deserve.For anyone whose burden is more than you can bear remember there are family and friends even co workers who cares how you feel.And he/she who has no one then ask God regularly to lift your burden or at least help to give you rest along the struggle

Karyssa Porterfield

1

Karyssa Porterfield commented…

I respectfully disagree with the author's statement that life can be "too much to handle" yes, it can feel that way at times but if it was too much to handle then how are we still here? Everyone goes through struggles and everyone has felt like life was too much, so if it was then how has the human race survived this long? How have we not all folded under the pressure?

David Weber

1

David Weber commented…

The Lord declares that His grace is sufficient for every painful situation we will ever encounter (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Because of His abundant goodness, kindness, and love for us, we do not have to succumb to discouragement, give up hope, or walk away from His plan. We will know God’s grace is working in us when . . .

We have the strength to persevere. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God releases His supernatural power into our life so we might endure (Acts 1:8).

A spirit of confidence in Him is ignited within our hearts and minds. Grace helps us believe that God will bring good from our troubles (Rom. 8:28).

We sense His presence with us. When grace is at work, we will be conscious of the Spirit’s abiding support.

Our focus shifts from our trials to the Lord. Grace helps us shift attention from our situation and emotions to God’s sufficiency.

We trust that God will bring us through this—and not just barely through, but with deeper intimacy and greater faith at the end.

We are assured of God’s sovereignty. The Lord knows our frailties. So He has promised to limit our trials to what our weaknesses, strengthened by His power, can bear (1 Cor. 10:13).

The apostle Paul had been through shipwrecks, imprisonment, and beatings—difficulties far worse than what most of us face. Yet he didn't quit, because he drew on God’s grace and found it sufficient for every circumstance. Where do you need an infusion of grace in order not to give up and walk away?

Please log in or register to comment

Log In