God will never give you more than you can handle.
I've heard this phrase repeated over and over and over and over again.
Always in the midst of hard times.
It's meant to bring reassurance to those suffering- to let them know that they'll get through it.
But I don't believe it to be true.
The scripture that gets misquoted is from Corinthians 10:13:
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.
"..He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear."
"..He will not let you be tempted..."
It doesn't say that you will only come across situations you can handle.
It says you won't be tempted beyond what you can bear. And when you are tempted, God will always provide a way out.
I don't believe that God purposely places us into situations of hardship and strife.
I believe that we find ourselves in situations sometimes where we really can't handle it on our own.
Truth is we live in a fallen world.
Filled with sin.
Filled with spiritual wickedness.
In this fallen world we are surrounded by an ongoing spiritual warfare- bigger than us and anything we could ever imagine.
Of course we can't handle it on our own!
But the heart of the matter here is that WE DON'T HAVE TO handle it on our own.
Sometimes our situation may seem so desperate that we can't find a way out.
Debt collectors are harassing you at home.
Your teenager only speaks to you to let you know they still hate you.
Your spouse is cold and distance.
You have a sick child.
You have lost a loved one.
It is in those situations where we can no longer handle the inner workings of life that we need to cry out to God.
We need Him to handle it.
It is in the darkest darkness that we need God to be our guiding light.
What would happen if all of life's situations were ones that we could handle because, you know, God wouldn't let that happen if we couldn't handle it?
We wouldn't lean on God but try to fix it with our own understanding.
We will never be challenged and hence, never grow.
We will never have testimony to God but only a testimony to ourselves.
Our testimony won't be about God but about ourselves.
I understand the heart of the phrase but I wonder if it'd be more helpful to start saying instead "God will carry you through this" or "lean on God for comfort and understanding".
When we tell others (or ourselves) that God wouldn't give us anything we couldn't handle, we are focusing on what we can do and what we can accomplish to get ourselves out of the mess we find ourselves in.
It's not about us and what we can do because no matter what we will always fall short.
It's about Christ and what He can do.
And what He has done, my dear reader, is magnificent.