We’ve allowed a lot of common sayings to rise to the level of Scripture in everyday language and that’s unfortunate.
Because many of them are just plain wrong.
And some of them are dangerous.
One of those I consider dangerous is this: “God will not give you more than you can handle”.
Why is it dangerous you ask?
For lots of reasons. It implies that I am capable of “handling” my own life, my own problems, my own future. If I find myself unable to handle something then I must be defective. My faith must not be strong enough. It becomes all about me.
None of that is true.
Without Christ and His strength, even many ordinary challenges would pin me to the ground under their weight.
I most certainly would not be standing under the burden of child loss!
This oft-quoted saying also leads a heart to embrace the idea that everything that happens is the result of God’s direct intervention in my life. The Bible clearly teaches that we live in a fallen world where natural forces (weather, gravity, disease and old age) impact us in ways God did not intend when He created it perfect and good and placed man in the Garden. We also know that other people’s sinful choices (drunk driving, murder, foolish behavior) can, sadly, result in bad outcomes for us and those we love.
Could God intervene? Of course!
But does He? Not always.
I do not believe for one minute that He sends those things to taunt me, teach me or punish me. He did not take my son’s life so that I would be a better Christian. In fact, I don’t believe He TOOK my son’s life at all.
And finally, it is absolutely, undeniably counter to what Jesus Himself experienced and promised those who follow Him will experience.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~Jesus
John 16:33 NIV
We need to be honest about how hard life can be.
We need to stop saying foolish things that make hurting hearts hurt harder.
We need to admit that God allows much more than we can handle alone.
And then turn to the One that can help us handle the load.