No one enjoys struggles. We look at trials and temptations, and wish that we could just press the fast-forward button on life when they come up. We look at trials, and seek to find ways to comfort ourselves. We often hear the phrase, “God will never give us more than we are able to handle.” We hear that phrase and feels like it should be comforting. However, once we go back, and put it into practical application we feel mislead because it seems as though the situation we have been put in is impossible to deal with. We feel this way because that phrase we hear over and over again is wrong and unbiblical.
You read it right. Saying, “God will never give us more than we can handle” is unbiblical. The concept to this idea is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. “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.”
Now if you were to take out various chunks of this verse from the whole statement then you could get out of it the above popular phrase. However, giving a selective piece of Scripture to encourage someone fails in helping them with what they need the most. Let me break down this verse a bit so we can get the bigger picture.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is common to man.” A couple of things here. First, it is important to remember that God does not tempt us. James 1:13 makes that abundantly clear. However, God will allow us to be tempted so that we can be strengthened in our faith and character. The other thing to take note of is that you are never alone in what you are going through. You may feel like you are the only person on this planet who is struggling with a specific situation, but others have gone through it before. Whether it is problems with family, marriage, friends, pornography, drinking, drugs. Whatever it is, you aren’t alone.
“God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” This is the part that people like to rip out of the rest of the verse, and use as encouragement. Granted, this is a great statement. In this passage we are being encouraged by God’s faithfulness, and being reminded that He has given us the tools and ability to push through. The question is what are those tools?
“but with temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Now here is where it starts to hurt. The only reason why God can’t give you more than you can handle is because it should never be us handling it. God is the one that helps us get through it. We face trials and temptations by depending on God rather than our own ability. What makes this even harder is that often the way of escape is to endure the temptation. We would much rather bury our head in the sand, and wait for things to blow over.
The problem with saying that God will never give us more than we can handle is that we are implying that our strength will be enough to get us through anything that comes our way. The real truth is that often times we face situations that are beyond our control. God allows these moments to take place so that we can use the one real ability that counts. It is the ability of faith. We must have faith in God to lead us out of the hardship.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever made this mistake? Feel free to share in the comments.