Hello beautiful people!
I was reading someone’s blog yesterday and a concern was raised about people who say “God will not give you more than you can handle” dismissively to people going through hard times. The person was concerned that even though this statement is supposed to be encouraging, it mostly comes across as rather insensitive or dismissive, kind of like telling whoever is going through the hard time to just suck it up because after all, God has given them exactly what they can handle. That just raised so many questions in my mind and I’d be grateful if anyone could help me answer them.
Before I get into my questions, let me share the Bible verse that seems to talk about this.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word-He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. (AMP)
The only temptation that you have are the same temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to endure it. (ERV)
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (MSG)
So these 3 versions have a common message which has been popularly interpreted as ‘God will not give you more than you can handle.’ I love how the second part of this verse talks about God always giving us a way out of our temptations. It is quite reassuring to know that He’s always with us and he’ll always be there to help us come through it as the MSG version puts it.
That brings me to my first set of questions. If the verse is talking about temptations/being tempted as it is clearly stated, why is it often applied to people facing challenges/going through a hard time to make it look like it is God who is taking them through that? Is Paul talking about temptations/tests OR going through hard times in life/facing challenges OR both? We know everyone has their own way of processing and dealing with issues so how exactly do we determine what more than we can handle is, as everyone’s limits/breaking point varies? When you say that to a person, do you know for sure that they can actually handle whatever they are going through or do you just say it because it’s something that seems okay to say at such a time?
“God never gives you more than you can handle” : A nice sentiment which we believe is encouraging and comforting but doesn’t really match with real life because we experience many struggles, illnesses, devastation and painful situations that are much more than we can handle, that even bring us to our breaking point.
Also: Do trials/temptations come from God? Does He allow us to be tempted? The way it says ‘He will not let you be tempted more than’ makes it look as though He will let you be tempted, but not more than you can bear. Well James 1:13 tells us not to say God is tempting us because He doesn’t tempt anyone. The following verse (v14) goes on to say that it is the evil things we want that tempt us, so that certainly rules out the thought that temptations come from God. That leaves us with trials (challenges/hard times), which we all experience at some point in our lives. Are they also from God? Does God deliberately take us through trials that feel unbearable?
Personally, I don’t think God gives us anything that we have to ‘handle’, in that sense. God does not give us trials, neither does He take us through hard times nor make us face challenges. The difficulties in life are not temptations, neither are they from God. We, by our own actions create problems and situations for ourselves and we end up blaming the devil or God. How can a father of light, so full of love from whom every good and perfect gift comes deliberately put us through hard times? Is He trying to punish us or teach us a lesson? That would actually negate who He is. The last part of James 1:17 (MSG) says: ‘There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.’ How then can He give us the good stuff and also bad stuff?
What do you think? Do leave a comment and let’s have a discussion. I would love to read your thoughts and views on this topic!
If you’re currently going through challenging times and you’d like a listening ear, some encouragement or motivation, please contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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