Lies we tell: God will not give you more than you can handle

Hardest final

I can’t tell you how much I loved the blog post Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle by a pastor in Indiana named Nate Pyle. (If you read no further, please click the link and read his article. It will take a minute and will be worth it).

He addresses something I have heard over and over again this summer, “God will not give you more than you can handle.”

Let’s just be blunt and to his point: There is no actual Christian/biblical truth behind the saying.

This saying has become one of my pet peeves as I have heard it over and over this summer. I understand why people say it, and I know why people believe it (I used to be one of them), but in the end it’s wrong. And worse it really does an injustice to the person you are trying to give hope too.

I agree 100% with what Pastor Pyle said,

“Later, Paul will write it is when he is weak that the strength of Christ is seen.  In other words, when we can’t do it any longer.  When we are fed up.  When it has become too much.  When we have nothing left.  When we are empty.  When it is beyond our capability to deal with it.  Then, in that moment, the strength of the God of resurrection will be seen.  Until we get to that point, we rely on ourselves thinking we can handle it and take care of the problem.”

Instead of saying the lie that the tough stuff won’t be that bad, we need to rely on the truth that God will be your guide through the tough stuff.

I’ve seen God show up in wonderful ways, while I have been utterly broken over my son’s cancer. Everyone says I am strong. But the fact is, I have been stronger in my faith than ever before. Focusing on God, what he is doing in our lives, and how He is working in others through this, is what is making me strong.

I am getting through not because God “gave me” a manageable amount of crap. It’s that the world/enemy/whatever gave me a truck load of crap, and God threw me like 15 ropes to let me climb my way out.

… It’s a deeper theological issue, than I have the time or energy to defend here, getting into God’s purpose with us, why things happen, and blah blah blah. But like Pastor Pyle said,

“Don’t be fooled, those questions are only to be asked by the courageous.  It is easy to spout trite Christian platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology.  But insipid axioms do little in the face of the actual brokenness of the world.  It is more courageous to ask the hard questions of God and wait for him to answer than it is to find hope on the side of coffee mug.”


6 thoughts on “Lies we tell: God will not give you more than you can handle

  1. Jen, I liked reading your post and I did read Pastor Nate’s blog post as well. But I am still a little uncomfortable about the conclusion. Maybe because I have not experienced extreme conditions in my life that I am uncertain that this expression is just a myth. I trust God with my life. Often, I wonder how I will pay my bills, or how will I survive my day at the office with all the tasks I have to accomplish or am I a good husband and father. But In the end, I have to thank God for whatever he throws at me. One verse that keeps me grounded is Romans 8:28- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    I do not use today’s catchy expression- “It is what it is “because to me “Its all good”

    I look forward to following your Blog. Thanks for listening to me

    • It’s okay to be unsure of my conclusion. It’s a very hard theological issue that I am over simplifying, and I could be completely wrong. All I know is that “God will only give you what you can handle” is not in the Bible, like people say it is. And I know in my experience, that my focus on God is what has gotten me through, not my own strength or the fact that He gave me “just enough problems” that my own strength can handle it. I definitely believe in trusting that God is going to take care of you and with your life. That is what we are all supposed to do, and should strive to do. I just think the author had a very valid point that the catch phrase can be very misleading. Even hurtful for people going through the “tough stuff”.

      Thank you for reading and definitely thank you for commenting!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I totally agree and can’t stand those little christian catch phrases folks use, they usually do more harm than good. I have to admit I really thought this one was true because I thought I knew the scripture it was from. When I looked it up (1 Cor 10:13) I realized that’s not at all what it’s saying. Im the verse is about temptation, not God “giving us” a manageable amount of crap to deal with. Loved how you put that, it’s my pet peeve when folks say things like that.

    I love however how evident God is during the roughest of times. How true it is that when we are weak, he is so strong. Loved this entry Jen.

    You have a beautiful family and I’m so sorry your little boy and your family is going through this. Your strength, vulnerability and transparency through this really allows me to see Jesus in and through you.

    • Megan, you could not have said anything that meant more to me. Thank you!!! Honestly, God has made my blog how I process any and all emotions, so I have no choice but to be honest. I am also for the first time ever really striving to write openly about my faith. I am a confident Christian but have never been able to write about it. So thats one of my main goals here. I am glad its being well received, and that God is using it!

      Love you friend!

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