“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
We’ve all heard the phrase, “God won’t give you anything more than you can handle.” Maybe we’ve even been told it’s in the Bible. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This little ‘gem’ gets passed around like a bad penny. It may be my least favorite saying in the English language!
When I’ve encountered difficult times in my life people have shared that little phrase in order to cheer me up or give me confidence that God wouldn’t possibly let me be so oppressed. I usually feel defeated when I hear it. It makes me feel like I’m failing, that I need to ‘bear up’ and ‘deal’ with whatever difficult or horrible thing God has chosen to let me experience. Weakness and failure are often mingled with my thoughts of grief. It makes me feel alone, that God is torturing me with a test to endure without His help. The simple fact is that if I were able to handle the situation by myself, I wouldn’t need God!
Let’s look at some of the promises God actually gives us in the Bible: God will see our human weakness and meet us there; in the broken places, in the defeat, in the failures. In grief we all feel we’re not enduring well enough. That’s where God shows His power. He knows we’re human, that’s no surprise to the God who made us. Godly living is about relying on Him even when we don’t understand or feel that we don’t have the strength to go on. He promises to love us, never leave us, and even take on our sorrows. The peace that God gives us often transcends understanding. That way, He gets the glory in restoring us to Himself. In those hard places, remember God’s promises and ‘lean in’ to his strength.
If you’ve ever heard that phrase, “God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle,” Correct them! Tell them more accurately, “God doesn’t give us any more than He can handle.” In the words of Paul Tripp, “Don’t buy the false gospel of self-reliance. If you could make it without help, Jesus would not have needed to come.”