I have heard more than once recently that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
For the record, yeah, that’s not true. It’s definitely not scriptural. In fact, I bet if you could talk to Job, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Peter, that they would all say at one point or another that God gave them more than they could handle. Even Jesus, that night in Gethsemane, asked God if he could get out of the next couple coming days, and he sweat drops of blood (this happens when a person is under a great deal of stress).
The closest scripture I could find to this saying is 1 Corinthians 10:13, which states in the ESV, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
But temptation is different than life struggles. Your dad having cancer is a life struggle, not a temptation. Your friends betraying you is a life struggle, not a temptation. I mean, sure, within the life struggle you will find the temptation to reject God, or reject parts of Him you know to be true. And that was Satan’s goal in taking everything away from him – to get him to curse God. But life struggles happen, and aren’t temptations in and of themselves.
But I bet, as the messengers came running to Job about his children dying, and his cattle, sheep and other sources of his wealth, Job would have said that this was too much, that God had given him more than he could handle. But mostly he just asked “why”.
Talk to the people in Africa, who are now orphans because both of their parents died of AIDS and are now starving. Or to any of the refugees anywhere on the planet. I bet they would all say “it’s too much”.
And it is. Why wouldn’t it be? Life is hard, and often it is more than a person can handle on their own. I don’t care if your life is cushy or if your life is super-hard, it’s more than you can handle. Something will come up that will send you over the edge. Which is why God calls us to community and to be in constant communion with Him. Because life IS more than we can handle on our own. But with Christ and with the community He has given us, we never have to do it on our own.
Even Job didn’t have to go through his trials alone. I mean, sure, his friends could have been a bit more supportive and trusting, but at least they sat down with him, and sat through the pain with him. Now, I’m sure at times he would have preferred they leave, their advice was that poisonous, but even their horrible advice seems to have pushed Job that much more to not curse God.
So yeah, the saying “God doesn’t give you more than you handle” is pretty much a lie. He allows stuff all the time to happen that is more than we can handle. But through that stuff, God is there and if you are dependent on Him, you will get through. And one of the ways He reaches out to you is through the community you and He have gathered around you. Life is not meant to be lived alone. You can’t do it on your own (even people who think they can find ways to get around the pain – whether they watch too much TV, are super-focused on their body, or drink, or whatever it is they can find to escape).
God WILL give you more than you can handle. On your own you will shut down emotionally. You will curse Him. You will no longer see a reason to live, or how you possibly could live through this. You might mentally snap.
But God will never give you more than you and He and your community can handle. There isn’t one example in scripture of God doing that. He’s not an evil, malicious God. He is just, and righteous, and loving. He takes care of His kids. It might be hard, but if you are at His side, He’ll guide you through.