Several times over the past week I have read the statement: "God will not give us more than we can handle." Is this true? Well, first of all you must know what this statement is based upon. A lot of people believe this to be a direct quote from the Bible but that's not true. In fact, I just did a search in a variety translations and including modern paraphases such as The Living Bible and The Message and not a single one of them contained that statement. This must mean that while the statement itself is not in the Bible, perhaps it is based upon a verse.
This statement seems to be based upon 1 Corinthians 10:13 which in King James Version reads as follows:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Wait a minute. What is this verse talking about? Is it talking about trials or difficulties or is it talking about temptation? Is there a difference?
With these questions in mind, I took a look at the word temptation. In the text, the word translated as temptation in the KJV is peirazó (Strong's Greek 3985) which means to make proof of, to attempt, test, tempt. When a word has multiple definitions, such as this, you must take a closer look at the context in order to discover the definition which the author had in mind. What was the author talking about?
In the preceeding verses, Paul is not speaking about what a friend of mine would call "challenges". He is not speaking about trials or tribulations. He is speaking about desiring evil things, fornication, idolatry, tempting God and so forth. Then, he writes 1 Corinthians 10:13. This is why many translators chose to use the word tempt as opposed to test although some use both. When I consider the context, I believe the latter definition is correct.
However, this is not good enough. I need to go one step further and ask myself this question: "Has God ever given me more than I can handle?"
As I considered that question, my mind went back to a cold December morning. I was driving to work literally minutes after learning that I had a tumor that more than likely was cancer. After learning the news calling my husband and making a follow-up appointment, I numbly got into my car and began to drive to school. As I was making my way through rush hour traffic, I began to shake and the tears started to flow uncontrollably. This was too much! I could not handle this. I wanted to pull up along side the road, throw myself on the ground and scream. I wanted to drive off the road and put an end to the barrage of thoughts in my mind. In all honesty, my first thought had been to swerve into someone but I had enough presence of mind to not want to take someone with me. I'm being honest here, folks. This was how I felt. It was too much. I had watched my father die of cancer when I was 16 and all of those memories came back to me in an instant. That made things even worse. My instinct was to put myself out of my misery once and for all and be done with it.
At that moment, the song, "How Can I Keep From Singing" by Chris Tomlin, came over the radio. The tears flowed harder as in a trembling voice I sang, "I know I am loved, by the King and He makes my heart want to sing."
No, I could not handle what I was facing. It was too big. It was too hard. I simply could not do it. I could not fix it. I could not make it go away. Doctors could try to treat the cancer but even then there was no guarantee that it would not come back.
What I could do, however, is remember that I was loved by God, a God who could lead me through the "Red Seas" in my life, be my shade by day, defense by night, sustain me in the wilderness and even heal me. I could not handle any of this but God could and what's more, He would. I'm not big enough but God is.
So, does God give us more than we can handle? I think He does for in doing so He causes us to realize who we truly are and who He is and that though we are weak, He is strong.
This was a great reminder that "more than we can handle" does not always equate to "temptation". It would be hard to find a better example.
Thinking back on what you have written, I suppose there was the element of temptation in there, as you resisted the desire to steer your car off the road by the wisdom God had lovingly cultivated in your heart for a day like that one. I'm so glad you didn't, and that he kept you from
As for the more than we can handle... you said it so well. In those "I can't fix this" moments, when all we can do is trust God, we invest everything we've got in trusting him. It's funny how suddenly peace descends as we become so acutely aware that God is in charge and that, while it is too hard for us, nothing is too hard for the Lord. "I'm not big enough but God is."