There’s a beautifully comforting phrase, God never gives you more than you can handle that I’ve loved and found peace with, many many times.
But about a month ago, I attended a wonderful faith-based women’s conference, IF Gathering, and was given a completely different perspective.
One of the strong speakers took that quote and spun it on its head. “No,” she said, “God always gives you more than you can handle. And that’s so you can rely on Him.”
That thought stopped me short. So many times when I’ve struggled, or felt lost, or tripped in my faith, I leaned into that quote. I trusted its promise. Those words were the comfort that I wasn’t alone, that my God who I loved and trusted would see me through. He had my back, and with Him I could get through anything.
Some of this still stands as truth. But the key words are with Him. With Him, I can get through anything. But that doesn’t mean what I go through will be easy. And it doesn’t mean it’s something I can handle on my own.
What the woman at the conference said was that God gives us more than we can handle so that we turn to Him. This speaks to so many of the difficult things we go through in life that don’t seem to have answers—death, loss, rape, violence, divorce, addiction—perhaps, in some strange way, God brings us to and through these things when we rely on His grace.
Now this is the hard part, and the part that all Christians still wrestle with: Why? Why does God let us go through these terrible things? Death of a child, being a victim of rape, becoming paralyzed, watching someone lose their battle to drugs. I don’t have the answers. Unfortunately none of us do.
But there is one thing I can find solace in—even when God brings us to these challenges, these too-big-to-handle-solo challenges, He promises that we never have to face them alone.
He gives us more than we can deal with, but that’s so we trust Him. This is the ultimate foundation of our faith. When push comes to shove, will we really rely on Him?
He gives us the opportunity to give our lives to Him, again and again, through every down, every challenge, every moment when we’re backed against the wall and feel faithless and purposeless.
He loves us when we’re broken and opens His arms to us when we’re weak. He gives us more than we can handle to show us that we need Him. Because we do need Him.
Why would a God who loves us put us through so much? I truly don’t think He puts us through these things as a test, or because He’s wicked and cruel. Pain is a part of life, but through Him, we can overcome pain. Even the greatest of pain.
And that is where we’re left with a new quote: God does give you more than you can handle, and this is good.
When you feel like you’re in over your head, when you’re lost, when you feel broken beyond repair, just know that this is a turning point. You have the opportunity to give your life to God, to allow Him to bless you, to encourage you, to pull you through this pain to the freedom on the other side.
You can’t do it alone. But good news, you aren’t. Ever.