The statement, “God will never give you more than you can handle” doesn’t really appear in the Bible. At least, not in the way most of us wish it would.
Here’s what the actual verse says: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians:10-13)
Now, some may not like to hear that a favorite verse, which has given them much comfort through trial and tribulation, doesn’t really exist. I get that. But, we must be able to come to terms with the true Words, and the true God of the Bible if we want to find true peace in this world.
The unfortunate part for many of us is that we’ve fallen victim to the name-it-and-claim-it system of the world. But, that’s not how God’s Word works. Many think it does, but it doesn’t.
The words written above speak a very different message than what many have been led to believe. It seems we prefer to push all focus off the self and reflect it back to God. It’s easier to find fault in others, than it is ourselves, right? And we start with God.
“Well, God wouldn’t allow me to go through all of this, I can barely handle a normal day, let alone this. He’s too good to do that!” He’s too good, it is true, but the rest is not.
See, we go through what we go through in life as a result of living in an imperfect world imperfect people, imperfect situations, and imperfect environment all a result of a little word called sin.
St. Paul, as he writes the words above, is actively dealing with sin. He is trying to focus the people in his audience to come to grips with the reality of living in an imperfect world, take their claim and responsibility in it, repent, and live an amended life.
And so it is with us. Think about all the junk that’s piled up in the secret closet of your life all those sicknesses, deaths, relationship issues, broken marriages, broken families, debt, job loss, job stress, school, and more. What’s at the heart of the issue? No, not God. Rather, you. Until we are able to recognize ourselves in the junk closet, we will never be able to rid ourselves of the mess.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we may not always be the cause of the problem, but we do play a role. Each of us has a reaction to every situation. And sadly, the aim of most reactions is, “How dare they treat me like that,” or, “How am I going to get myself out of this one.”
Do you see the issue with that? Here it is; “Me” and “I.” We think we are more powerful and able than we really are when it comes to life! And there, dear friends, is the heart of this passage of Scripture.
“But with the temptation, He will provide the way of escape,” doesn’t conclude with you or me. Rather, this way of escape is forgiveness; and forgiveness is Jesus Christ. The Lord will certainly allow many things to happen in our lives, many things that we think we cannot handle. And, you know, if we only turn to ourselves and what we think we know how to do, then we will eventually get to a spot in life where we are angry with God, because we, indeed, can’t handle our lives.
But, this verse is calling us to submission, repentance, and complete devotion to who, what, and how the Lord works in our lives.
Who God is the creator and sustainer of all things in this world.
What God is a compassionate Father who mourns when His children mourn, laughs when His children laugh, and rejoices when His children come to Him.
How The Lord continues to provide for His creation through Word and Sacrament, the means of intimate relationship with Him.
“God will never give you more than you can handle” doesn’t really appear in the Bible. But what does is the promise of forgiveness and eternal life by the credit awarded to us through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If we’re honest, we can’t really handle that, either. But our faith clings to it, and assures us it’s true.