Good Monday Morning to this week 20 of 2019
Though “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is a favorite quote of many Christians, it’s like quite a few verses that are mentioned but don’t actually appear in the Bible.
Some verses suggest the opposite approach:
Rather than never putting His followers in situations, they can’t handle, God occasionally does overwhelm them so they can grow into people capable of handling anything.
1 Corinthians 1:8 He will also keep you firm to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 38:4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.
1 Kings 19:7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
Does it mean God takes into account our independent possibilities based on our track record of handling trouble and, thus, measures out that trouble to us so that it doesn’t go beyond what “we” independently by our own resources can handle?
Or, does “we” mean that we can handle it if we receive it by faith in divine assistance and that God knows what he himself will give us by grace in enabling us to handle what he gives us — so he is not thinking of “we” as independent, but “we” as dependent on the grace that comes with the difficulty? Which of those two does this statement ask about?
And “handle.” What does “handle” mean? Does “handle” mean you never collapse under it? Does it mean you never fail in any task? Does it mean you never mess up? Does it mean you never fail to get a B+ on every one of life’s tests? Or does “handle” mean you never fail so that you never recover or repent or restore reconciliation and that you are finally lost because you failed? Which does “handle” mean?
Corinthians 10:13: “no temptation” — or “test” since it is the same word in Greek — “no test has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted [tested] beyond your ability” — or beyond what you are able — “but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
When Paul says he won’t give what is beyond what you are able, he means, not beyond what you are able with God’s help. We know that because of a couple of other things he says. For example, in 2 Corinthians 9:8 he says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” In other words, in every test or temptation, the question is, “Will I do what I ought to do?” And Paul says, “There will be grace,” not just, “I am depending on you to use your resources without depending on grace.” “I am giving you grace so there will be grace to do it. But you are not independent of my powers to help.”
“What could this mean, ‘we’ in this statement: ‘God will never give us more than “we” can handle’?” is that “we” means we who are helped by sovereign grace, not we independent of the power of God’s help.
With the prophet Daniel, for example, God led him off into captivity. But He never brought him “through” Babylon and back to Israel. Instead, He kept him there through king after king, battle after battle, danger after danger. Daniel grew old and died far from home, never seeing the land he longed for. But God used that time for some amazing displays of His power to make an impact there.
So, yes we get completely overwhelmed, overstretched, far beyond what we can handle, and in that we find His Grace, his power to help, to assist us and walk us through the deep trouble.
Some more promises:
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.
Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” He is going to keep you.
But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” I prayed for you. Yes, you are going to deny me tonight, but I am bringing you back.
We get completely overwhelmed, overstretched, far beyond what we can handle, and in that we find His Grace, his power to help, to assist us and walk us through the deep dark and hard valleys.
I wish you His grace this week!