Maybe you have heard well-meaning believers say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” While this sounds good and it might feel right, nowhere in the Bible does it ever actually say that. I am almost certain most people are misquoting 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say this. That verse reads, “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Clearly we see that God won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. But Scripture never says that God won’t give you more than you can handle.
I would argue the opposite. God often allows you to experience more than you can handle to teach us to trust and depend on Him.
The apostle Paul learned this valuable lesson and recorded his feelings in 2 Corinthians. We are not sure what his ailment was, but Paul had what he called a “thorn in the flesh.” Scholars have theorized for centuries about the possibilities for his pain, but the best we can do is guess. What we know is that Paul pleaded faithfully with God multiple times to take it away, yet God never did.
If ever there was a person who was worthy of this type of miracle, it was certainly Paul. He suffered immensely for the gospel, way more than most of us could ever imagine or endure. He had boundless faith in God, and he prayed with all his heart. If God was going to answer anyone’s prayer with a miracle, it seems like this one should be a top candidate. Yet God allowed Paul to continue living with that thorn, whatever it was, something that seemed like it was more than he could handle.
Paul, rather than allowing this challenge to turn him away from God, decided instead to trust God and let it draw him closer.
In the middle of Paul’s pain, God spoke to him and offered him a promise and he responded to it: “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
God promised that His grace was enough.
Paul didn’t need God to remove his problem. God’s presence was all Paul needed.
Don’t believe the lie that God won’t give you more than you can handle. If you decide to start something new, chances are it’s going to be more than you can handle. When God prompts you to go and start something new, He will provide you with enough grace to handle what you can’t handle. When He leads you to stop something you have done for years, it likely will be more than you can do on your own. So just admit it and ask Him to help you. And when you’re weak, He will be strong.
When you know you need to stay and it would be easier to go, God will have to help you do what you can’t do yourself. And when God tells you to go when you would rather stay, He’ll give you the faith to take that first step. When God wants you to serve in ways that make you feel like you’re in over your head, He’ll empower you to do what needs doing. And when He guides you to connect with certain people in your life, you can be sure He’s going to use that connection to bless you both.
But never be afraid to move forward through a challenge, trial, or storm because it feels like more than you can handle. Think about it. The first time you provide a foster home for a child, that’s going to be more than you can handle. If you have teenagers, they’re likely will be more than you can deal with at times. When your bills keep piling up and you don’t have enough money to pay them, you’re going to need God’s help. When you get a bad report from a doctor, you’ll need God’s strength and presence to sustain you.
You might be tempted to think, I need to be strong. But the truth is it’s okay to be weak. In your weakness, His strength will be all you need.
Whenever you face a storm, a struggle, some unexpected trial, just remember God will occasionally allow you to have more than you can handle. He will use trials to change you into the image of His Son and teach you to trust Him. He will transform these obstacles into vehicles for His blessings.