There are so many little catch phrases we say as Christians, right? “God helps those who help themselves.” “Everything happens for a reason.” And my least favorite, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
We say these things in an effort to console ourselves or another person. Our hearts are in the right place but we’re majorly missing the mark. The truth is, not only do these sentiments never appear in the bible but they don’t even remotely line up with scripture.
When we become Christians, we are not promised an easy life. In fact, we’re actually promised hardships. Jesus is very forthcoming in John 16:33 when he says, “In this world you will have trouble.” He doesn’t say might. He says will. Then he goes on, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He also doesn’t follow that up with, “Hey guys, no worries. I’ve overcome the world so when that trouble comes, I’ve got it handled.” No. Just no. He might change your circumstances. Ask Him. He’s able. But what He wants more than anything is for us to lean into Him. Let Him be our comfort and strength. He wants us to stop thinking we can do it alone if we just try harder. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 is crystal clear. Those are the words of a loving dad.
If you’re a parent, think about how much you love your kids. Think about what you would do if something horrible happened to them. Now reverse the roles and place God in the parent role and yourself in the kid role. That’s how He feels. Truly. He wants us to ask for help. He wants us to run into His arms and let Him pick us up. He wants to be our safe place.
Here’s my last issue with this statement. He doesn’t GIVE us more than we can handle. What He has given us is free will to make our own stupid decisions and deal with the consequences. Just as a child grows and moves away from their parent, we think that as we age we can become less dependent on God. We go out into the world and do what we want. Then when something goes horribly wrong, we play the victim and want to know why He abandoned us. It’s silly if you really think about it.
Now sometimes our horrible circumstances are out of our control. This is not easy to write and I’m sure it’s not easy to hear if you are in the midst of something just awful. I truly believe that He doesn’t stop these horrible, life changing, gut ripping circumstances so that we will cling to Him. So that we’ll stop thinking we can go through life within our own strength and only call out to Him when things get too big to manage on our own.
If you, or someone you love, is going through something just terrible, please do not believe the lie that He chose you to endure this. He didn’t pick you because He thinks you’re stronger than someone else and that you can deal with it better. He wasn’t given a crappy card and forced to dole it out to an unlucky soul. That’s not how it works. It’s just what happens in this world that we live in. Keep reading.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 Paul wrote, “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. 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.”
I think I would’ve liked Paul. In fact, I would’ve loved him. He didn’t mince words. He regularly wrote passages like, “Hey guys, follow Christ and life will be so hard. You could be tortured and imprisoned like me. You might be ridiculed by your community and cut off from your family. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because He is the giver of true and eternal life. He loves you more than you can imagine and all He wants is a relationship with you.”
So don’t believe the deception that God won’t give you more than you can handle. Maybe he already has or you’ll face something unbearable later in life. But try not to be discouraged and focus on the fact that you get to lean on the One who has overcome the world. HE is bigger than any problem that comes your way. HE is the ultimate Physician, Healer and Comforter. HE will be beside you and desperately wants you to lean into Him. Let Him carry your heavy load. Trust Him to carry your heavy load and He gladly will.