Recently my church did a sermon series on common phrases in the Christian community that aren’t actually biblical. One that really stuck with me was God will never give you more than you can handle.
I’d heard this on many, many occasions within my walk. Maybe I’d even said it. But it’s nowhere in the bible.
I’ve been really meditating on this since the sermon and God continues to reveal how false this statement is. Last week, in my young adult group we ended up reviewing James I. James reminds the young church that trials will come. Clearly I needed to hear this message not once, but twice.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
2018 has been one attack after another. I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally) or catch a break anywhere. For three months I was sick with sinus infections and bronchitis. All of these led me coughing so hard I dislocated a rib. Luckily, my chiropractor was able to relocate it. I still struggled to do the things I loved to do for weeks (sleeping for example).
The week I heard these messages was one of those weeks where nothing seemed to be going right. Money was tight, car accident happened, I received hard feedback at work, I was nauseous from my medication and lacking motivation and energy. Things could have been so much worse but the weight of what I felt was super heavy. This week was just about the cherry on top of a string of challenging weeks. So hearing this message in the middle of this trial helped adjust my focus away from my pain and onto what Jesus can do, what He’s already done.
If you read the Bible there are many other people who were pushed past their limits and given a life that was too much for them to handle. One of my favorites is Joseph’s story. You’d think being sold into slavery by your brothers and getting throw into prison because your master’s wife lied about some pretty terrible things would kill your spirit a bit. Definitely not the life I’m sure he would have originally picked for himself. He allowed God to continue to use him and lead the way, all the way to him becoming the pharaoh’s vizier.
The Bible doesn’t say that God won’t give you more than you can handle. What is does say is that you will have hard trials but that God is with you, that He goes before you, and that He is your source of peace.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3
”The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him!” Exodus 15:2
“The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” Psalm 27: 1-3
Trials gives us an opportunity to be drawn closer to God, for our faith to be tested, and for us to seek Him for peace. Not only that but God tells us repetitively not to worry and that He is where our strength comes from. Don’t you remember what God did for you the last time you had troubles? Lift your worry up to Him, trust Him with it, and allow Him to calm the storm in your life. Give Him the opportunity to show off for you.
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Photo by Michael Heuss