I occasionally like to correct a myth I have heard all my life.
How many times has someone said to you, “God will never put more (trials) on you than you can bear”?
I challenge you to show me that in the Bible.
God WILL allow more than you can bear.
The problem I have with that lie is that – as innocently as it is given – even offered mostly as encouragement – is that it’s not encouraging at all.
The myth makes so many believers wonder why they can’t handle their problems – falsely believing they should be able to — because someone once told them the lie that God would not put more on them than they could handle.
Than THEY could handle. And, that’s the key problem with that phrase.
Yes, we do have the promise that we will not be “tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we need to understand what that verse is saying. It says that God will not allow Satan to bring temptation, or enticement to sin, into our life where is too much for us to say no to it. When we are tempted to sin, God will make a way for us to resist it – through His Holy Spirit in us. God wants us to live holy – just as Christ who calls us is holy – and so He provided a Helper for us to resist temptation.
But, that verse has nothing to do with the amount of struggles we will face as believers.
Consistently, throughout the Bible, I read where God allowed more trials, more pressure, than His children could bear.
Elijah, the powerful prophet of God who held back the rain had a time when the trial must have been bigger than his ability to handle it. Consider this verse: “The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7)
Once when Paul wrote to the people at Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:8), he told them that he and his followers faced trials “far beyond our ability to endure“.
David, the great war hero and man after God’s own heart, told the Lord that “troubles without number surround me” and “and I cannot see“. He couldn’t see clearly, because he was overwhelmed with the storms of life!
Another time David said “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”(Oh how I identify with David there!)
Jehoshaphat prayed, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) It sounds like he was facing more than he could handle – on his own.
Are there times when God allows more troubles in your life than you can bear? Absolutely! Positively!
If you can accept my testimony as an example, let me tell you that sometimes life throws more at me than I can handle – at least more than I can handle alone. I can’t do it in my own strength. I can’t.
The reason God allows you and I to experience times when we are consumed by trials – when they are bigger than our own strength can handle – is so that we have no where else to turn except towards Him. We are faced with one solution – and that is to realize Christ is our only hope! He is our solution.
After Paul wrote that his trial was bigger than his ability to endure, he offers an explanation. “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9) There it is! That’s the ticket! Paul recognized truth – that this overwhelming time of trouble – that he couldn’t handle alone – had caused him to focus more on the power of God and allow God to work His perfect will in Paul’s life.
And, that is God’s desired reality in our life. He wants us to fully rely on Him.
Are you being challenged beyond your ability to endure?
Don’t believe that you can do it alone! You can’t! You must not try!
Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing!” Did you get that point? Nothing!
Don’t try anything today without relying on the power of God! He knows you’re weak. He is available to help – if you will call upon Him! When we are at our weakest – He is strong!
(I wrote this post over 6 years ago. I have now edited it and brought it forward several times.)