More than you can bear

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of “God-isms”; statements that are born out of a need to understand things, be at peace with things, or even encourage others.  One such example is “God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.”  I heard it again just the other day from a wonderful, Godly Christian person.

And when I heard it, I thought to myself, “Really?”

Now, I’m not trying to be a stickler or a legalist.  If you’re thinking I should “lighten up” then clearly we’ve never met face-to-face.  I’m about as “light” as you get.  But when I see something that seems to collide with Scripture and has the potential to rob us from a deeper understanding of the things of God and the rich truth of God’s Word, I really find myself desiring to dive in and wrestle.

Let’s start with an obvious truth: Nobody in the Bible or in all of human history had a problem-free life.  Everyone without exception had difficulties, trials, problems, and heart-breaking situations to face.  From Adam to Zephaniah, all people have had problems.

And all throughout Scripture we can see lots of different methods for dealing with our problems.  Some stand and fight, some go to prayer, some hide, some wrestle with unanswered questions, some live in denial, some sweep it under the rug, some surrender, and some run.

But does God really only give us what we can handle?  Did He give Moses what Moses could handle?  Did He give Abraham what only Abraham could handle?  Did He give Esther what Esther was able to handle?  Did He saddle David what David’s “fair share” and not an ounce more?  Did He give Paul what Paul was strong enough to deal with?  With John, did He reach John’s limit and not give John any more?  I believe that to all of these we can offer a resounding “No!”

The truth is, when we look at each of the examples of people in the Bible and when we look at our own lives honestly, we find that God doesn’t seem to use the same system of measurement that we do.  He doesn’t put only in your life that which you can handle.  He puts in your life that which will drive you to Him, and no less.

There are so many passages in God’s Word that tell of His enabling strength, but let me point out just three:

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

–Isaiah 41:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

–Ephesians 6:10

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

–Philippians 4:13
None of these verses say anything about what you can handle, what you can do, how much you can bear, how strong you are, or what your pain threshold is.  Every one of these verses and so many more focus our attention on GOD’s ability, GOD’s strength, and GOD’s power.
Perhaps the most well-known example of this is found in the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.  As you read these words, allow your spirit to echo Paul’s words and confession of who is who in your life…
But he [God] 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is not when we are at our best that God shines brightest, but when we are at our weakest.  Remember that even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane called out to His Father for compassion, truly sensing that the “cup” before Him was too much to humanly bear.  And the truth is, it was. Which is precisely why God the Father had Jesus drink from that cup of crucifixion.  Because it isn’t about our strength.  It isn’t about our ability or what we can handle.  It’s about allowing His strength–the endless supply of power and sustaining grace offered to us by our loving Heavenly Father–to be our portion.

God doesn’t give you only what you can handle.  He gives you what HE can handle.  He gives you whatever it takes to draw you to Him, and not an ounce less.  Because He knows that when you are with Him, resting in His presence, drawing on His strength, you are truly unstoppable.

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2 thoughts on “More than you can bear

  1. AMEN! Preach it, brother! It is especially fruitless to say to an unbeliever, “God won’t give you more than you can bear,” because the don’t have the storehouses of Heaven at their disposal! We can only “do all things” IN CHRIST, and through HIS righteousness.

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