The old saying goes like this: God will never give you more than you can handle.
It sounds good. It sounds biblical. The only problem is that it’s not.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but will provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure.
The key difference, as Chris Brooks explained tonight in Kairos, is that we are often given more than we can handle by ourselves. Our strength lies in community and our ability to endure rests in fellowship.
If God never gave me as an individual more than I could handle, I’d more than likely slip into self-righteousness and be completely lacking in grace toward others who are struggling. I wouldn’t know the sweet communion that comes from prayers of desperation and surrender. As it is, God often allows me to go through circumstances and situations that force me to rely on God’s sustaining strength and the combined power of community.
The problem with God never giving me more than I can handle is that if I’m struggling, then the fault must lie with me. I must not have enough faith. I must be doing it wrong.
Even the apostle Paul and his companions went through situations that were beyond their ability to bear. Paul himself was given a thorn in his flesh that he begged God to remove, but God declared that His strength would be made perfect in Paul’s very weakness he felt he could not endure.
I love what Chris said. He said that yes, God will give you more than you can bear. He will give you more grace, more love, and more mercy than you can handle. Not only that, but His mercies and grace will be new every morning.
I confess that God Himself is more than I can handle sometimes. If I could completely comprehend and grasp all that is the Eternal Mystery with my finite understanding, then what I am beholding isn’t the Infinite God but a god of my own creation.
God is so much more than anything I could dream up or imagine on my own. He’s big enough for whatever is too much for me to handle and strong enough to get me through what I cannot bear and tender enough to surround me with those who will be able to bear with me through seasons of trial and temptation.