Have you heard the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle?”
That is an outright lie!
The Sunday after I learned of my husband’s affair, we went to a new church. The pastor was preaching a series on, “You Can’t Handle It.” He spoke of the trials of this life and how we, as humans, are not designed to carry the burden, that many times the pressure is simply too much for us to bear.
And that’s the way God designed it.
Repeatedly, God tells us it’s not our responsibility to handle it, to carry the weight of the trials of this life. For example, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. Exodus 14:14 tells us to be still and let Him fight for us. John 16:33 says we will have trouble in this world but He has already overcome those trials. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to worry. Just as God cares for the lilies of the field and sparrows, He will also tend to our every need.
The struggles of this world are not ours. They belong to Him. He never intended for us to carry the burden. Instead, He always planned to carry it for us.
The trials of this life are not about how much we can carry; they are about how much He can carry.
And there is no weight capacity on God.
Some of you may be questioning right now, asking about 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is probably one of the most misquoted scriptures. Here’s what it says:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it. 1Corinthians 10:13
There’s one key word in this passage: temptation. No temptation is so great that you cannot overcome. That is a scriptural promise. If you are faced with a temptation, God always has a way out. No temptation is more than you can handle.
But what’s the difference between trials and temptations? A temptation is the desire to eat too much, where a trial is the struggle with an eating disorder. A temptation is the desire to have sex with someone outside the bounds of marriage, but a trial is the burden of overcoming the pain created by adultery. A temptation is the desire to drown your sorrows in alcohol, but a trial is the sickness of a loved one.
A temptation is the opportunity to sin, but a trial is the painful circumstances of living in a fallen world.
There are many of us facing overwhelming trials: adultery, divorce, sickness, financial ruin, death. Our lives have been turned upside-down, often by no fault of our own. We are watching our entire lives crumble, wondering how we can ever bear up under the increasing pain and pressure. We are treading water, simply hoping we can keep our heads above water.
And we are on the verge of drowning.
We see no way out, no way of escape. The pain and pressure are pressing down on us, and we can’t carry the load any longer. We desperately want out, but life just keeps happening.
And we can’t handle it.
I’m right there with you. I’m done, crumbling under the pain and pressure of life. I can’t keep going. I am ready to throw in the towel, simply escape from life. I can’t carry the burden any longer.
It’s not the financial strain of mounting medical bills now totaling in the neighborhood of $10,000.
It’s not the stress of trying to walk my children through the pain and grief of losing their father.
It’s not the exhaustion of working full-time, ministering part-time, and being a full-time mom to three active teenagers.
It’s not the pressure of lies being told about me in an attempt to destroy me and my reputation.
All of these things together are bad…possibly as bad and as stressful as the pain and devastation I suffered years ago during the early days of adultery and divorce.
But when you throw in health problems for one of your very own children, your heart and soul? As you stand by helplessly, wondering what the future has for your daughter? When you stand over an unresponsive child, watching her body convulse and wonder if she will pull out of it?
That is more than I can handle.
Yes, my baby had her second seizure this weekend and is now on anti-seizure medication…and I am about to lose it. Crumbling in a heap. Tears staining my cheeks. No longer able to handle the pressure.
And I’m reminded that God does give us more than we can handle.
But He doesn’t give us more than He can handle.
What now? How do I let it go and trust Him with my burdens? How do I throw my cares on Him and let Him take them?
Surrender. I’m at the end of my rope, unable to handle the pressure. I’m tired of carrying the burdens, of straining under the weight of this life.
I hear God whisper, “Surrender. Trust me with your cares and your burdens. I’ve entrusted you with these trials because I know the outcome. I know your faith will be strengthened and these trials will help conform you more to my image.”
So today, I pause before my Savior, throw my arms in the air, and say, “I can’t handle it. I’m finished. All of these trials are yours. You take them, because I don’t want them anymore.”
I am choosing to intentionally release my grip on this life and trust Him to handle it.
Seek His purpose. Somehow, some way, God is using this pain to conform me to His image, to prepare me for whatever He has planned for my future. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know what these trials are working into my life…nor what they are working out of my life.
But I know my Savior. I know all things work together for my good (Romans 8:28). I know He has a purpose in my pain, one that will eventually enrich my life in ways I never dreamed.
God is going to use this season. One day I will look back in amazement at what God did, and I will be able to use this time to point the world back to Him.
I must simply trust His omniscience and sovereignty.
Yoke with Him. You’ve probably heard Matthew 11:28-30.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
But what does it mean to yoke with Jesus? It’s a picture of two oxen, one considerably larger than the other. A heavy beam has been placed across their backs so they can pull their load, possibly a plow or a wagon. But the larger ox is carrying the weight while the smaller ox is simply learning.
And that’s how it is with Jesus. He carries the heavy yoke, the burden, while we simply walk beside Him, learning from Him. We don’t have to exert the energy because He is doing all of the work. And, when we take His yoke, it is light, easy, filled with love and kindness…and rest.
Here’s where I am today: I am looking back on my relationship with my Father, remembering His great faithfulness over the years. I know He has never failed me before, and He won’t fail me now. I have to trust that He has my best interest in mind, even when it seems there’s no way this mess can work for my good. But I must move forward, acting in obedience even when it makes no sense, even when it seems life is crumbling before me. And, when I find myself trusting even in the midst of chaos, I can know that I will find rest for my weary soul.
Can’t handle the pressures of this life? It’s ok. God never expected you to handle it.