When God gives us more than we can handle

Do you ever experience the fear of wondering if God doesn’t actually care about all the details of your life? The Bible may say He loves us more than the birds and the flowers of the field, but does He really pay attention to our human needs and desires?

And if He does, then why can we feel lonely or lost or overwhelmed despite our relationship with Christ? Some say God won’t give us more than we can handle, but there are plenty of people with heart-wrenching stories who may say differently.

You might be going through something right now that causes you to wonder why God is allowing your situation to continue. Or maybe you’re remembering that circumstance from your past as you wonder about God’s care for you. And suddenly you think, “Does God give me more than I can handle? What does that say about His love for me?”

Let’s define “handle”

The problem with believing God will never give us more than we can handle is our definition of the word “handle.” We think of handling a situation to mean remaining calm in the face of an emergency. Or righting a wrong. So does that mean if we are placed in a situation that is beyond our control, it’s more than we can handle? If we feel crushed by our circumstances and don’t know the next step, did God accidentally give us too much?

And if that’s how we define “handle,” then what about someone who lost a spouse or a child unexpectedly? What about the one who is fighting cancer? And the family of nine that lives in a one-room tin “home,” accepting disease because they don’t have clean water? Did God just forget about them?

Until we redefine our use of the word “handle,” we will think God has failed us or we have failed God. What if His version of not giving us more than we can handle means He will never allow us to slip beyond the point of His grace? We’re told this world will have hardship and temptation, but we’re promised God’s faithfulness is on our side. We will never face a situation that overcomes us as Jesus followers if we rely on His grace. Because it’s enough to sustain us.

Relying on God’s strength

The next question then would be why God allows these kinds of hardships at all. He’s all powerful, right? Can’t He just whisper the words and fix it all?

These are questions we may never fully understand. We live in a sinful world with disease, hatred and sorrow. Satan is fighting against God while he still can. Things will happen in this life that we don’t see a point to. And that’s OK. We don’t need all the answers.

Life might be a heck of a lot easier without situations that bring about the need to rely on God for strength, but how quickly would we give into pride if that were the case? That’s what caused this whole sin mess in the first place: the desire to not need God.

Facing overwhelming situations reminds us of our need for God and His grace. It presents us with a choice: follow God or follow man. He may not just give us the answer (do teachers and parents ever just give away the answer?), but He will present us with the choice of leaning on Him or ourselves.

What about the ordinary?

How does understanding this phrase help us in our ordinary? After all, not everyone experiences unexpected tragedy or life-threatening situations on a day-to-day basis. The connection here is learning how to lean on God’s strength and grace. If we realize we need Him in the ordinary moments of life, it will be second-nature to breathe out prayers when we feel as if we’re drowning.

Is work stressful? Ask God for His peace. Is your schedule busy to the point of barely seeing your spouse? Ask God to remind you of His presence throughout your day. Is routine feeling like a leash on your life? Ask God to remind you of how to be thankful.

So no, God will never give you more than you can handle. Because that would mean you have slipped beyond His grace. It would mean He has left you to fend for yourself. You will certainly face things in this life that will remind you we live in a broken, sinful world. You may fall under the weight of your situation. But you can handle anything with God’s grace. Even if your body fails you and you “lose” according to the world’s definition of handling it, you can have assurance that God awaits you in His glory, because you will always remain covered in His grace.    

Let’s Talk About It: What do you think about the phrase, “God never gives you more than you can handle”? 

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