When Jay passed away people would say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and I wondered, was I too weak for this trial? Was God punishing me? One more time feeling I was not good enough. I also thought, “It’s easy for others to say God won’t give us more than we can handle when they aren’t the ones whose life was just turned upside down.” On the other hand, some days I thought, “God must think I am awesome to be able to handle all of this!” Two ends of the spectrum, which was common for me to feel, but upon checking into this, maybe my Heavenly Father hadn’t said this quote at all. I was putting a burden of scripture on myself that was not meant to be. I am not a scripture scholar but am a researcher, so this is what I have found so far…
To start, “God won’t give us more than we can handle” isn’t in the scriptures as we say it is. You have to read what context it is in and understand the background, to fully understand what was meant by this letter to the Corinthians by Paul when he said this:
1 Corinthians 10:13
€œThere hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. King James Version (KJV)
When I read the verses before and after 13, it became clear he was talking about temptation.
Paul was willing to go against the popular thing to do or people pleasing and teach the people what he knew about Christ’s church. The city of Corinth was much like one of our modern-day cities where it was easy to sin and not always have a consequence. What Paul wanted was for the followers of Christ to shine their light on those around them. He wanted his people to show their commitment to Christ and encourage others and help each other.
So that brings me to another thing I have been thinking about for years now- Is God the one who gives us trials and temptations? Is He the one who will give us burdens to carry? I believe that the majority of the time, we bring these on ourselves or others put them on us. Do I believe that he made my husband pass away to see how I would handle myself? No, I don’t think so. Is God the one who made me have 6 children to see how much I could handle after a loss? No, I don’t believe so. I think in many of my trials I had my own free will and choice, or others did, and Heavenly Father didn’t place them as a burden in my knapsack.
Then what about a terminal disease or a loved one dying or a terrorist attack or mother nature? It’s human nature to want to blame someone for everything that happens, so if we don’t see anyone to blame, should we blame God? Should we tell that person that God won’t give them more than they can handle? I will tell you from experience that didn’t really lift me. It did the opposite- it made me wonder what I was doing wrong.
I know from experience that Heavenly Father was there for me when my burdens were and are heavy. Oh, YES! That’s the thing I have learned the most in the past few years. I will tell you of a very spiritual experience I had just months after Jay passed away. I was feeling very low. I was sitting in my bed thinking, “I can’t do all of this.” I heard a voice– not one that I heard out loud, but one deep within my soul says to me, “Come and I will give you rest.” I felt His loving arms and warmth around me. I knew I had heard these words before, perhaps a scripture… Yes!
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Heavenly Father knew I was having a hard time and I know He never left me. Even when I made mistakes, I could feel Him near. He never leaves. No matter what. He gave me rest- and yes, that is in scripture.
The third thing this scripture means to me in reference to not giving us more than we can handle is again something that Paul was trying to teach. God gave us people around us to lift our burdens. He gave us each other. I wasn’t looking for God to take my burden away- how could He? My husband wasn’t coming home. I needed help in a different way. On some of my darkest days, I would pray for help, and I would often think, “I wonder who is listening?” Then someone would call me. I would tell them, “Thank you for listening to promptings. I really needed someone to reach out today.” People lifted me.
There’s also another thing- when I do service, it usually makes me feel better- probably more than the person I am serving. I can’t out-give God! He always pays me back somehow. Tenfold.
So my challenge for you is to listen to your spirit, intuition, gut, promptings, or whatever you want to call that voice. Instead of telling people this quote, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” do something about it. Help them. Instead of hoping God will take their burdens away, God has sent YOU to lift their heart. Someone out there is in need of their burdens being lifted and YOU ARE THE ONE who can help with “more than they can handle.” I have seen it in my own life and am so grateful for those who have lifted my burdens, if only for a moment- I didn’t have to carry the load myself.