I used to be someone who said, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
That was before I had faced any hardships in my life. I didn’t know who God truly is.
When people are going through something hard and decide to share it, it makes people uncomfortable. It’s hard to watch others who are hurting, and it’s hard not knowing how to help when it’s someone you love.
“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is a very well-meaning encouragement that I know is meant in love. I’ve said it before! But it’s not really comforting at all in the way you hope or intend it to be. In fact, many of us who are experiencing hard things would want you to know this:
That phrase does not come across in the kind way you mean it. It firstly implies that those who don’t experience suffering in their lives are somehow unable to handle it and people like me who do have great suffering can handle it. I promise you I don’t “handle it” on most days. It also makes it sound as if all the horrible things in our life came from God.
When you use the words “God” and “gives” in the sentence that way, what I personally hear is:
God gave her cancer.
God caused the relapse.
God did the brain damage.
God took her.
God did these things . . . because I can handle it.
I don’t believe any of that for ONE second but, it still stings in my heart a little to think that.
We fought aggressive Lymphoma in our 2-year-old. We watched her unconscious and dying in the PICU with 11 tubes coming from her. We sat by helpless as “rescue chemo” slowly took her independence away. We cleaned up throw up, poop, blood, feeding tube formula, and medicines. We held her down to get poked and prodded. And then we said goodbye and have to go on living without her. This painful chapter of life feels like it’s more than we can handle because it is more than we can handle. And we weren’t given a choice, we have to handle it.
The truth is He ABSOLUTELY gives us more than we can handle. That’s the point. He gives us more than we can handle alone.
We are to turn to Him in times of trouble and pain and lean on Him to take the burdens for us. Jesus died on the cross so that we don’t have to go through anything alone. The sheer force of humanity is more than we can handle alone. Can you imagine handling the weight and consequence of sin alone?!
Psalm 18:2 says, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
He gives us way more than we can handle alone so we will take refuge in Him and lean on “the Rock of my strength” (Psalm 62:7). He also places people on our lives to stand in the gap and pray for us when we don’t have the words. People who will love on us and support us through the difficult times.
Trusting Jesus with your salvation is so much more than just going to Heaven when your time comes. It’s entrusting every aspect of your life to Him. It’s also trusting that He is good all the time. When terrible things happen, He’s good. When there’s joy, He’s good. We may not know why things happen to us on this side of Heaven but, we have to trust that even then, He’s good.
God didn’t cause any of this, but you better believe He’s going to redeem it.