God Will Not Give You More Than You Can Handle, Or Will He?
by Robert Driskell 2/11/2011 / Christian Living
Often, when someone is experiencing difficulty in their lives, someone else will say to them, "Don't worry, God won't give you any more than you can handle." The verse most often quoted to support this is first Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (NASB)
Many times this verse is interpreted to mean that God will not allow us to experience any more heartache or difficulties than we can withstand. It is understood to mean that, since He knows how much we can bear, He will only allow difficulties right up to the point where we will break, but stops just before we are overwhelmed. We are tested just to the point where one more thing would be more than we could withstand on our own. It is believed that this is a promise to believers that God will not give us more than we can cope with.
While the motives behind this interpretation are usually honest and loving, many times the person undergoing the difficulty is simply encouraged to look inside and think that he or she is strong enough to handle whatever comes up because God has promised a limit to their struggles. It is believed that we have all we need already inside us.
However; this can, and often does, have the effect of turning the focus upon oneself instead of on God, where it should be. The person begins to rely on himself instead of looking to God for strength. This can lead to a self-dependence instead of God dependence.
This is not what this verse means. God doesn't want to sit back and watch us take care of ourselves. He wants us to depend on Him for everything. The apostle Paul said that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. Paul looked to God to enable him to do everything, and he encourages us to do the same.
This verse is one more instance of the Bible trying to stress to us that our strength comes directly from God. We are not strengthened by Him and then sent on our merry way to face the trials and difficulties life throws at us. God is not a motivational speaker. He does not merely encourage us to buck up, get in there, and make it happen. Rather, our strength comes directly from Him through our intimate connection and dependence on Himminute by minute.
If we see this verse, or any other verse in the Bible, as telling us that we have everything we need already inside us to handle every problem that comes along, we are misinterpreting the Word.
However, if we see this verse as telling us that no matter what trials or temptations assault us in this life, if we turn to God in dependence upon Him, He will supply the strength, wisdom, and way to endure them.
Then we have a correct understanding of the promise of God in this section of His Word.
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."