God Will Never Give You More….

Some weeks ago I was visiting with a friend who was worrying over something that could possibly happen in her future. As we were talking about it, I was trying to be encouraging and helpful, so I said something  like, “Don’t worry! God will never give you….” and she finished the sentence, “….more than I can handle. I know.”

On my way home I realized that I had said something very stupid and untrue. I know that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us; He has promised no temptation will ever be so bad that we can’t escape. But He never promised not to give us more than we could handle. In fact, He gives us more than we can handle all the time. If He didn’t, then we would not need to lean on Him for grace and strength. Paul learned how to be content because God gave him more than he could handle many times over. But Paul learned to trust God, and he learned contentment in plenty and in want. He summed it up by telling us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If he had never gotten more than he could handle, he would not have learned to get strength from Christ.

Twins? Quadruplets? You’ve got to be kidding. But God gives more grace. Forgive that guy? I can’t. But God gives more strength. Speak in front of a large audience? No way! But God enables. Cancer? A house fire? If we simply look to our own resources, of course we will crumple. But if we acknowledge our weakness and look to Christ, He will carry us through.

Moses felt pretty inadequate for the job. “O my Lord please send by the hand of whomever else You may send” (Exodus 4:13).  Jeremiah argued with the Lord, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). I wonder if Mary didn’t feel a little overwhelmed at times. Think of Esther, married to King Xerxes of Persia. She must have been terrified when she approached the king to ask a favor. I am sure we could find many more characters who were given more than they could handle, and yet when they responded in faith, they were blessed. Daniel and his friends in the den of lions, Noah and his ark, Sarah and her promised son, the list could go on and on.

So join me in never saying such a stupid thing as, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Our God is much better and greater and kinder than that!

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30 thoughts on “God Will Never Give You More….

  1. You’re absolutely right! By giving us more than we can handle, He leads us right into His arms. I’ve been through many trials recently, but God always gave me the strength and grace to get through it, and I love Him more now than ever before. He is faithful and good!

  2. This very helpful, as usual. I’ve always struggled with how to say something useful to someone feeling sunk by the weight of life-right-now. The whole “never give you more..” always felt a trite thing to say to someone who is really suffering. This perspective is much more useful. Thanks Nancy!

  3. Wow. Where does this saying come from? Is this really not in the Bible? (I believe you, am just amazed at how embedded it is.) Wish I could erase every human inspired thought about how God works that I falsely believe to be an acceptable paraphrase of a Bible verse. Thanks for sharing this lightbulb moment.

  4. Thank you for true words, Nancy. A good reminder.

    Along similar vine, I’ve also had to re-learn how to pray for people. My immediate tendency is to pray for health, comfort, and general wellness for those we minister to, but these are not necessarily things that would make us more like Christ–our ultimate purpose.

    It is often during times of despair and defeat that I truly learn the depth of my lack, and the sufficient of his grace.

  5. I think this phrase becomes mixed with 1Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” And while He does take us into situations that look overwhelming, God is a faithful Father who does tell us “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” This is what is hard at times to remember that it is God’s strength that enables us not our own. I love the prayer that Paul prays for the Ephesian asking that God would help them to know the great power that they have through the work of God. This power, given to us by the Holy Spirit, is the power which raised Jesus from the dead. Yet I keep struggling through by my own strength instead having my eyes open to the power of God. Thank you Nancy for your faithfulness to God, His Word and to His people.

  6. I often tell myself the “God won’t give me more than I can handle” bit but then immediately think “but I wonder if he thinks I can handle too much.” I have tried to believe it and often tried telling myself so, but the truth is— it made me feel like even more of a failure.

    I really value this, more accurate, line of thought. I guess I am not a failure after all! 🙂

  7. Lynnette,

    I think the phrase comes from 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.”

    I’ve said before something along the lines of “God won’t give you more than you can handle with His help.”

  8. I loved this post! The phrase came from 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says we won’t be tempted past what we can bear. But of course, “our” ability to bear anything, whether temptation, challenge, stress, greif, or whatever is really NOT OURS but a gift of God! So essentially EVERYTHING is more than we can bear, except that we have the power of Christ living in us. Which means that NOTHING is more than we can bear. Hard to put feet on that kind of faith, but it is true.

  9. Wow. You’re so right! I have said this many times (like, yesterday in fact!) and I think I believed it, but like Rebecca before me, I wondered if he thinks I can handle too much. 😉
    I appreciate this perspective and will share this the next time I hear that phrase in the church.

  10. “God has promised to never leave us or forsake us; He has promised no temptation will ever be so bad that we can’t escape. But He never promised not to give us more than we could handle. In fact, He gives us more than we can handle all the time. If He didn’t, then we would not need to lean on Him for grace and strength. ”

    THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank you. I really needed such truth this morning!

  11. People may be thinking of 1 Corinthians 10:13 “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” But that is different. I then found more about it here: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2009/07/20/everyday-theology-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/

    I have been through some very trying times and it does nothing for me to have someone say “God will never give you more than you can handle!” It’s like umm… good to know!?

  12. I almost didn’t read this because I currently have so much more than I can possibly handle and feel overwhelmed. So glad I read it. Thank you so much.

  13. You are so right! God refines us through the trials of life as we trust Him more. Where God has me right now: Yes I trust Him, but do I REALLY TRUST HIM?

  14. Amen! And sometimes it even seems that God enjoys giving us more than we can handle, just so He can bless us when we come to Him (call it the Problem of the To-Do List instead of the Problem of Evil).

  15. My mother told me very early in my life that God *always* gives us more than we can handle, but never more than *He* can handle. Because of this, the platitude of “God never gives you more…” has forever been sand in my shorts.

    To me, this post and the previous post about laziness seem connected. I agreed much with the original comments of Valerie (Kyriosity) on the laziness post. Oftentimes, when in affliction, the overwhelming realization that you have indeed been given more than you can handle, leads to idleness which looks like or even becomes laziness. Only when the afflicted remember they have a Savior who is intimately familiar with such trials, can they break free of the self-saving mentality that never saves. I doubt telling someone to “get it together” because it “could be worse” has ever motivated anyone to respond from a heart crying out and leaning fully on the Savior. If anything, I think it embarrasses, or guilts them into an outwardly appropriate response.

    Tough love is warranted, and nowadays probably more often than not. But grace and mercy seem to be in equally low supply at times, too. Sometimes, a person just needs a loving reminder that they are precious to Him. Sometimes they need a kick in the pants. It’s worth prayerful consideration to help discern which to use!

  16. It’s all in the pronouns–maybe we should change the saying to, “God will never give us more than HE can handle.”

    Thanks for your loving reminders and admonitions, Nancy. We’re going through a season of things being more than we can handle and so our faith is being stretched and our capacity to trust deepened. It helps to remember that nothing is ever more than God can handle!


  17. ?”So [God} supplies perfectly measured grace to meet the needs of the godly. For daily needs there is daily grace; for sudden needs, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace. God’s grace is given wonderfully, but not wastefully; freely but not foolishly; bountifully but not blindly.” ~John Blanchard

  18. thank you.
    i have heard this over and over again and it’s not biblical! thank you for shining a light on Jesus and what He can do.

  19. I Cor. 10:13 is about *temptation*, not *trials*. The two are very different, though Satan will use a trial that God sends to try to tempt us to believe that God is not good and that He doesn’t love us.

    When I was pregnant with our twins and had a two-yr-old and a one-yr-old, lots of people told me, “Don’t worry, God will never give you more than you can handle.” It was very often Christians who were just repeating bad theology without thinking it through. That twin pregnancy with two toddlers running around sure enough WAS more than I could handle! But the Lord was there every step of the way, sending help when I needed it, in every way I needed it. He knew I needed the next level of faith and trust in Him, so He sent me something hard to go through.

    And now we have a 5, a 4, two 2s, and an 8 mo. old. When I have a particularly trying day, I look back on what I learned and can look better to Him!

  20. I loved this post because I too just realized this in my own walk with the Lord. God had given is a child with possible health issues as I’m due in 30 days. I have 3 other daughters toraise along with this new baby. There are no answers that we can know during this pregnancy do its just trusting the Lord in all this. Thanks for the great post.

  21. Fantastic post. In fact, I blogged about the same topic with similar conclusions not too long ago. You’re exactly right. If life never presented difficulties beyond our own limitations, we’d never need God. But oh how we need him….

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