21 Reasons God May Allow More Than You Can Bear

I’ve written some of my most read posts about a myth. A lie. A misquoted and misapplied Bible verse.

As with most lies the enemy uses, it originates from a misapplied truth in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that talks about temptation and how when we are tempted, God always allows us a way to resist that temptation. We can’t be tempted beyond what He’s equipped us to bear. (But, even that is misapplied if it’s done on our own strength.)

So using that truth, people often stretch it to say to hurting people, “God will not put more on you than you can bear.”

Yea — right!

Tell that to me. Or my friends. Or yourself.

Ever feel defeated? Like you can’t handle what you’ve been asked to “bear”?

Imagine telling a mother of two young children after she suddenly loses her husband and fears being able to raise the children, provide for them, and keep the home in which they live, “Remember, God will not put more on you than you can bear.”

Doesn’t sound very comforting to me — or probably to her. At the time she feels very much like she has more on her than she can bear.

And, she does.

And I’m not suggesting God “put” that on her, but He certainly allowed her to have more on her than SHE can bear.

If you’re like the rest of us you have felt that way also. It’s part of being in the fallen world in which we live.

And yet, for the believer we have an answer.

When we feel out of control — in over our head — afraid of the circumstances of our life — worried — our answer is Jesus.

It’s all grace, and it’s a sufficient grace to help us in our time of need. We are more than conquers — with Jesus

Ironically, however, I believe that truth, combined with the misapplication of the verse above, is where the lie in that familiar saying originates.

We have an answer to the stress of this world — a strength to bear any burden. But, that can make us think we should be able to handle anything.

And, we can — with Jesus.

But…

When the administration of that strength rests on us — on our abilities — IF YOU CAN BEAR IT — it leaves out our need for grace.

And, Jesus made it clear when He said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”

This may seem like semantics, and I’m not usually a semantics kind of guy, but when the semantics are wrong here it can produce a terrible theology. One that says you have to make it on your own. That because you are a believer, you suddenly have the power to defeat anything that comes your way. And, you do have power — but it is NOT you — the power is Jesus in you.

The key here is you won’t have more on you than you can bear — IN JESUS. Paul said, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

But without an understanding of “Christ in me” that phrase “God will not put more on you than you can bear” isn’t freeing. It’s burdensome. And — with any misunderstanding of where our true strength resides — that saying becomes a lie.

And, probably no one who uses that statement intends it to harm — they intend it to be helpful. But the enemy would love you to live in that lie, believing that somehow YOU have to get it together — you have to conquer all the ails you — in your strength, because, you know, “God will not put more on you than you can bear”. It’s a dangerous, defeating statement without proper understanding. It’s not helpful in a person’s time of struggle.

It might be easier to say, “You know, God will never allow anything upon you that HE can’t handle.” And, then we can encourage people to “cast their cares upon Him, because He cares.”

And, as strange as it may seem, those times of disparity — when we are overwhelmed with our personal abilities — unable to stand up to the pressures we are facing — have more on us than we can bear — actually have great value within the sovreignty of God. He uses them for our good.

Here are 21 reasons God may allow more than you can bear:

So you will rely on Him. 1 Peter 5:7

So you will call on Him. Acts 17:26-27

So you have no choice but Him. John 15:5

So He can tell us things we wouldn’t know otherwise. Jeremiah 33:3

So He can be gracious to you. Isaiah 30:18

So He can show His kindness and compassion. Lamentations 3:21-24

So He can restore your soul. Psalm 23:3

So He can demonstrate His strength. 2 Corinthians 12:9

So you will trust in Jesus — and the Father. John 14:1.

So you can produce character and hope. Romans 5:3-5

So He can keep us from being self-reliant 2 Corinthians 12:7

So He can discipline His children. Hebrews 12:6-7

So God’s power is revealed. 2 Corinthians 4:7

So He can show our need for salvation. Psalm 119:67

So He can comfort us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

So we can learn to comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

So He can reveal His unseen workings. Psalm 77:19

So He can demonstrate how all things work for an eventual good. Romans 8:28

So the Gospel might be proclaimed. Philippians 1:12-13

So He can draw prodigals home. Luke 15:17

So He can build character and hope. Romans 5:3-4

Don’t believe the lie. God WILL allow more on you than you can bear — alone. You and I need a Him for our every breath.

If you feel overwhelmed today — defeated — like there is more on you than you can bear – turn to the burden bearer. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'” (Matthew 11:28)

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 25 Comments

  • Shiori says:

    I have a dear friend who had once lost everything in life. Her husband left her while pregnant. Her country was at war. There was little food. She said she needed to keep on walking (while pregnant) to get away from danger. She could not believe anyone around her not knowing who she can trust. She said that she “only had God.”. Now, she is blessed with a wonderful family, home and safety in America but above any of those, it is apparent that her deep relationship with God is the most valuable treasure she has gained through unbearable experiences.

  • Ruth Duvall says:

    So very true! I needed this reminder….thank you so much for sharing!

  • Cindy says:

    Love this post Ron!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I think there are different levels of understanding of scripture and most people don’t understand just how deep scripture can go until they’re faced something that’s more than they can bare. I remember people telling me this when my daddy died and thinking “yea I got this. Me and Jesus.” And feeling enough peace for that time. Then a year later when I miscarried people saying the same thing and me thinking, “I don’t know, God. This is really hard. I need You” and having an even deeper since of peace through that. Then when my husband left me and people started saying it again I remember thinking, and still do, “I don’t think so. There’s no way I got this. I need Jesus and I need Him bad.” I agree with all 21 things and find them very encouraging. Is just the waiting to see them fulfilled that’s the hard part.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Yes, waiting is the hardest part. We don't like to wait. But, I always put it in terms I can understand. Like a 2 year old that thinks they “can't wait to eat or they'll die”, so God sees us waiting, but knows we could never understand His concept of time. 
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • Dale Roach says:

    This is some really great advice. Thanks for the reasons and the scripture that backs them up.

  • […] 21 Reasons God May Allow More Than You Can Bear by Ron Edomondson […]

  • […] Burdens, endurance, God, & trials: 21 Reasons God May Allow More Than You Can Bear […]

  • Mark says:

    Mr. Edmonson, excellent post! You've outdone yourself!

  • Matt says:

    Classic equivocation. The "no more than you can bear" implies that the strength for bearing up under the trial comes from God. The verse indicates that God provides a way for escape. Some may argue that God never puts on us more than we can bear alone, but few mean that when they say it.

    • ronedmondson says:

      And my concern is more for the hearer of that phrase than the deliverer. I've sat with too many people who had heard it and wondered what was wrong with them.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

      • Matt says:

        Okay, I understand what you're saying. But your experiences aside, who is the first deliverer of that verse? Isn't the point that the apostle Paul is making is that the Corinthian believers can learn endurance by learning to depend on their faithful God?

        I'm not arguing with you that there are people who take versus out of context. Many in my congregation are often surprised to learn the context of favorite verses. They joke with me that too often I say "but that's not what it means." The funny thing about your article is that your title contradicts the point of the passage, but then you come back and reiterate what the passages saying. That's an odd way of presenting truth.

  • Lorenzo says:

    Thank you Sir! I'm definitely in one of those seasons right now, desperately needing His grace, and thankfully discovering His nearness.

  • jonstallings says:

    Thanks Ron for this list. It is sad how many misquotes have become cliche that we repeat them without even thinking.

  • Greg Conley says:

    Amen brother! He breaks us to the point of complete dependence upon Him! It’s different for each of us but He loves us all the same! Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  • Jarrell Dunson says:

    Thanks Ron, this is a blessing, – jrd

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