When people talk about God not giving us more than we can handle, they frequently reference 1 Corinthians 10:13. Others say God does give us more than we can handle pointing to all the suffering in the world. So, which is true? Will God never give us more than we can handle?
The answer is both yes and no but not in the way you think. We’ll look at what God does and does not give, as well as our ability to handle it.
There are important things to note about temptation. God does not give us temptation.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed (James 1:14-15).
Temptation happens to us all and there is no shame in being tempted. Jesus himself was tempted but remained without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
When we are tempted, this is where we have the promised help found in 1 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.
An amazing example of this is when David was tempted to wipe out Nabal and all his men in a fit of anger thus taking vengeance into his own hands (1 Samuel 25). But God sent Abigail to intervene and David escaped the temptation. Coming to his senses, David says to Abigail,
“May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.”
God never gives us temptation, but he does give us the way to escape it.
God will not give you more trouble than you can handle because God is not the giver of trouble. God is the giver of life and the source of love and blessing.
However, life will dish out horrendous things where people find themselves in despair crying out “I can’t handle this.”
Ever since the fall in the garden, humanity has had trouble. Sickness, tragedy, violence, and death are the result of sin. Jesus made it clear that trouble was part of living in the world and he was the remedy, not the source.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Paul reaffirms Jesus as the remedy in Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
God does not give us trouble; he gives us the remedy for it.
God does give us hard things. He does this in two ways: God gives us tests and commands.
Tests can be scary, but God gives them to us for good reason. They expose what’s inside of us. This shows us where our need for growth is.
The commands that God gives us are not only hard, they are impossible — for a reason. This is evidenced in both the Old Testament as well as the New. In the Old Testament, God gave the law through Moses and no one has been successful at keeping it — except Jesus.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus upped the hardness of the law in his sermon on the mount making it more impossible for us to obey. He said things like “you’ve heard it said, but I say…” But again, for a reason.
Jesus gives us the way to do the hard thing of obedience in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Did you catch it?
The only way we can do the hard things God gives us to do is in union with him.
This chapter in John goes on to talk about remaining in God’s love leading up to a new command to love one another. But not just to love in a superficial way but in the same way Jesus demonstrated his love for us by giving his life (John 15:12-13, 17).
In 1 John 4:19, the source our ability to love in this way is clearly shown. “We love because he first loved us.”
God gives us hard things to do so we can do them together and we can always handle that.
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Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, speaker, and coach who helps people embrace their value and heal their soul through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn (now available in audio), Love’s Manifesto and Because You Matter. A long time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/