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'God will never give you more than you can handle'

Paul tells us: "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Over time that promise has become abbreviated to "God will never give you more than you can handle." Like many others, I've derived comfort from these words, though I know God does not "give" me loss, pain and grief.

Like most bumper-sticker theology, this promise appeals to my concerns about myself and my well-being. If I take Paul's words and God's faithfulness seriously, I must also look beyond my self-centeredness to the pain and severe testing others endure. What of the hungry, the abused, the victims of racism? What of the people of the world who have known no other life than a daily existence of war and terror? Could it be that God could use me to provide a "way out" for the hopeless? Could I help others handle life?

A better bumper sticker might be: "God is faithful."


Comments

Susan

Susan

Posted at 12:00 pm (U.S. Eastern) 4/20/2008

this is awesome. some people will take this verse and let it keep them from worrying about life and assume that God has everything covered, which he does, but not in such a way that we're left doing nothing. the fact that you considered that YOU may be the way out for the hopeless is amazing and really makes me think about my life and what i can do for others. thank you :)

venus H.

venus H.

Posted at 11:52 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/11/2008

the lord is good

Jessica

Jessica

Posted at 1:19 am (U.S. Eastern) 1/28/2009

Indeed God is good..!! No matter how hard the circumstance and situation might be we can never forget that if God sends us on stony paths, he'll always provide us with strong shoes

shelley

shelley

Posted at 1:31 am (U.S. Eastern) 5/22/2009

I think that the reason the bible provides us with this nugget of wisdom is because it is precisely when we cry "Uncle"  that the devil cocks his head to listen to us cry. "My God! I have been given too much to bear!"

Rick

Rick

Posted at 7:42 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/16/2009

I have to say something here.  How does one define "more than you can handle"?  Does that mean how you face hardships, trials, tragedies, and sufferings in life?

One needs to take a look at the verse that directly proceeds this to fully understand what Paul is talking about.  10:12 is "Therefore, let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."  Put that verse back-to-back with this one and it becomes evident that the underlying theme of verse 13 is NOT about facing hardships, trials, tragedies, and sufferings in life, but temptation -- namely, the allure to do wrong, to do evil, and how one can escape that allure (In fact, "temptation" is used in place of "testing" in most translations).    The key words in this verse are "he will also provide the way out".  Provide the way out of what? -- temptation.  One is not provided the way out of a loved one's tragic death, our house burning to the ground, or losing our life's savings in a stock market crash.  These are examples of circumstances that God allows in our lives from time to time, but they are not temptations.  Look at Job and everything that happened to him -- and, by all accounts (Job 1:8), he always took the way out when tempted to do evil.   

This is a verse that's been taken out of context for a long, long time.  Maybe scripture does contain a verse that deals with how one faces hardships, trials, tragedies, and sufferings in life, but it's not THIS one.

AL

AL

Posted at 4:32 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/29/2009

I believe this scripture could also be toward someone's position in life- Many will pray for God to bless them with something else when they are not properly managing on the level they presently are.  I don't believe God is a God of waste.  He will not place more upon us than we can bear in this sense as well. Some will pray for a nicer home when they are not managing the one they're in. Don't believe he will give a nicer home so one can clutter it up too.

Lori

Lori

Posted at 10:58 am (U.S. Eastern) 11/14/2009

Rick, I agree with you. And I think that was the point that the writer was trying to make: God never said He would Not allow more than we could handle. Not in this verse. People keep saying that, but I have yet to find in the scriptures where God said it. And many people use the discussion verse as a way of saying that, when in fact, it has nothing to do with trials we face. It is temptations, as you said. If anyone is interested, further discussion can be found at http://www.ronedmondson.com/2009/03/god-will-allow-more-than-you-can-bear.html

Lori

Lori

Posted at 11:03 am (U.S. Eastern) 11/14/2009

oops... I read it again and realized maybe that wasn't the point of the story, that it was changing the verse completely. In any event, my post still explains my thoughts. Furthermore, are we abbreviating God's Word, or changing it? Just a thought. 

Dave

Dave

Posted at 7:20 pm (U.S. Eastern) 11/16/2009

Yes, if we take this verse and try to find a comfting message that isn't there we missing the point of this powerfully important verse.  This verse neither explicitly or implicitly deals with struggles outside temptation.  For those looking to be comforted in knowing that "God never gives us more than we can handle" we need look no further than the understanding that God sincerly loves us all and has equipped us with part of Himself (The Holy Spirit). Look to Romans 5:5 for this promise, and than remember that we are to take the hardships in our life (which are intentional) and realize they are part of God's plan, and that reguardless of how perplexed we are by them we will benefit from them if we draw nearer to the Lord through them, and develop character and hope from them.  (Romans 5:3-4). 

So take heart all those looking for Joy which transends circumstance, because just like Jesus endured the cross drawing strength from the joy set before Him, all who have placed their lives in God's eternal Hands have the ETERNAL joy and gift of salvation set before us.  Remember if we place God first, others second and ourselves last we will find ourselves much more reseptive and perceptive of this Joy as we live our lives as servants.

Dave

Dave

Posted at 7:26 pm (U.S. Eastern) 11/16/2009

Oh, and to cross reference the idea that through God we have been given the ability to overcome all adversity read, 1 John 4:4.

Earl Paige

Earl Paige

Posted at 8:13 am (U.S. Eastern) 12/27/2009

I gotta go with Rick.  The passage is NOT talking about hardships, pain, suffering, etc.  The passage is talking about sin and temptation.

We live in a "Christian "culture that believes, to some degree, the health and wealth hogwash.   The Bible clearly teaches that wwe will ahve lots of trouble and sorrow here on this earth.  Our ONLY hope is in the life hereafter.

Up until the late 1940's to early 1950's, everyone struggled.  I am talking about from the fall of man to the 20th century.  Most people struggled just to eat every day.  (Give us this day our daily bread.)  

Many people starve to death every day.  Many Christians are martyred each week.  More difficulty than we can bear cannot be the meaning of this passage.

Jessica

Jessica

Posted at 10:18 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/27/2010

This is an awesome AWESOME verse. I was listening to KLOVE today on the radio and heard about this. I dont know much about God, except that I believe in him and want to walk in his light...but this verse just gives people so much hope. I will def. always remember this verse.

Sheridan

Sheridan

Posted at 9:13 pm (U.S. Eastern) 2/4/2010

The actual verse says "you will not be tempted beyond what you can endure".  Not tested but tempted.  There is a huge difference.  He will not allow Satan to tempt you beyond what you can handle.  Tests and temptations are not the same.  There are many instances in the Bible where men of God admitted to being overwhelmed with trouble.  Everyone goes through tests, trials and tribulations but being tempted to sin, is what God will not allow beyond that which you can endure.

Ryan

Ryan

Posted at 1:17 pm (U.S. Eastern) 4/15/2010

In my own life I've seen the opposite to be true.  The best things that ever happened to me where the things that were MUCH more than I could handle.  We're all stricken with this ugly idea: that we can rely on ourselves.  God allows us to face a lot more than we can handle so that we learn that we're not capable of being self-reliant, that we exist in a flawed form that tries to live separate from Him either entirely or just in certain areas of "OUR" lives.  To say that God won't allow us to face circumstances beyond our capabilities is worse than inaccurate, it's a misrepresentation of God.  For it is through those times of our inadequacy that we turn to Him to restore us in Him. 

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis: to ask God to shield us from pain is to ask Him to love us less. 

DJ

DJ

Posted at 8:48 am (U.S. Eastern) 5/27/2010

I believe it actually says "he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear"

God will give us more than we can handle so we rely on him and not on ourselves.Just a thought

Terry Bowes

Terry Bowes

Posted at 1:22 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/24/2010

I wrote this short piece for the cover story of the January 2002 issue of The Lutheran Magazine. It was part of a series of short meditations written by a variety of authors on "Slogan Theology."

 I was amazed when my editor, Julie Sevig, contacted me to say that the piece is consistently in the top 25 "hits" from the internet from outside the ELCA. She has asked me to revisit the piece, with an emphasis on why this saying resonates so much with people.

 My deadline is Aug. 2. Please feel free to give me any input you might have on the subject. And thank you for the helpful comments you all have posted on the first piece.

Terry Bowes

Angie

Angie

Posted at 2:00 am (U.S. Eastern) 7/25/2010

It's not "loss, pain, and grief" that we will not have to bear, it's temptation.  Check your translation, folks.  Should read temptation, not testing.  Completely different idea.

 Consider the following passages:

"We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life." (1 Corinthians 1:9) 

2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul wrote, "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

"...though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith will be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:6,7)

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2) 



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