” God will NOT give you more than you can handle.”

My job often affords me the opportunity to wax theologically/poetically on a wide-range of ideas and issues.  Earlier today, I got a message from a Facebook friend–my reply to which I wanted to share with you.  She had a question for me about how God interacts with us when it comes to trials:

Hey there! Got a question. I think the question come from people putting their own spin on the Bible. Could you help me with this.

God will NOT give you more than you can handle.
God WILL give you more than you can handle.



To it, I replied:


This is just a bit more complicated than it appears. Not because it is difficult to understand, but because we have convoluted it by our understanding of scripture and our everyday interaction with the Holy Spirit.

This idea flows from an understanding of temptation found in 1 Corinthians 10.13. Paul is talking about temptation. So, God doesn’t allow us to be tempted by more than we can endure. Of course, by our tendency to extrapolate scripture to mean whatever it is we want it to mean, we have pulled this idea out of its original context. So, the “28 Days” application of that phrase is the way we commonly understand it, but that’s not what it originally meant.

That being said, this idea of whether God will or will not give us more than we can handle CAN be understood. My feeling is that God won’t give us any more than we can handle. Oftentimes, the addendum to that is “…I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” I think that can rectify the two ideas. In those times when we feel God has given us more than we can handle are the times when things are particularly hard. Possibly, we are approaching the situation in a manner such that we allow ourselves to be overtaken by the gravity of it. Perhaps, the situation is such that we cannot escape the fact that we are being tested down to the very fiber of our being. Honestly, we are going to have those times in our lives, whether or not we are disciples of Christ.

My final conclusion is this: God won’t give us more than we can handle. Sometimes the load will seem light, and sometimes it will be very heavy. Much of the way we perceive a situation to be playing out is due to our own experience and level of experience. In those times when we feel like we cannot handle it, it can be very easy to feel as if God has abandoned. However, it is like that poem “Footprints.” The man who is looking at his life as a set of footprints in the sand usually sees two sets–his and God’s. However, he points out the times when he only sees one set and asks God where he was in those times–the rough times. God says, “those are the times in which I carried you.”

Maybe this was more of an answer than you wanted, but sometimes these questions need to be parsed thoroughly.

I can be a bit long-winded, but I hope you get the gist.

Grace and Peace.

2 comments on “” God will NOT give you more than you can handle.”

  1. Christian Salafia
    January 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM #

    Here’s an alternate thought. Perhaps God DOES give us more than we can handle because it’s at those times when we learn to rely on Him and on others in community.

  2. Chris Tiedeman
    January 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM #

    I am not willing to rule anything out. Honestly, it gets us to the same place–reliance upon the grace of God–and that’s good enough for me.

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