** This is part 2 or my series on Christian cliches. They’re meant for good but end up doing more harm in the long run**
You hear it all the time, you see it written on Facebook status updates and tweeted printed on everything. Honestly, this phrase is thrown around a lot, and I do mean a lot. Many people use this line to try to encourage a friend or family member whenever times are tough. While it’s absolutely essential that we do everything we can to build up and encourage people who are experiencing trials and adversity, we need to make sure that what we encourage them with is the truth.
This phrase sounds very positive and affirming, but you will not find “God won’t give you more than you can handle” anywhere within the pages of the Bible. It simply doesn’t exist.
It actually comes from a common misquote 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says:
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
When applied properly this verse very affirming, but it does not say that God will not “give you more than you can handle.” It’s talking about temptation only – that we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure.
Over and over again in the Bible, we see men and women who are given far more than they can handle. The prophet Jeremiah is a great example; he was charged with preaching repentance to the people of Israel, a calling that caused him to be beaten, plotted against and rejected by everyone, even his own family. Emotionally, that was far more than he could handle (as we see in his many laments).
The Apostle Paul is probably one of the most powerful examples of this truth found in Scripture. Paul doesn’t tell us these things to boast in how he took all this suffering and adversity like a man—he does it so that we might know that God will always give us more than we can handle. He ”boasts of the things that show my weakness” because those things show his (and our) dependency on the power and mercy of God.
When you say that God will never give you more than you can handle, I pray you can see that the focus is on you and not Him. God will break you so that you will learn to rely completely on Him. So let’s please stop peddling this lie as it only serves to hurt more than help.
**Over the next few weeks I would love to address other Christian cliches, if there are some that you’ve wondered about please let me know in the comments below and I will try to address them in the upcoming weeks.**