12 Jun More Than I Can Handle
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NIV
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10d NIV
Have you heard the saying “God will never give you more than you can handle?” During difficult times, I’ve often heard this quoted as a means of comfort. However, personally, I’ve often found this old adage to be deeply discouraging.
If that’s true, I want to say, then why do I feel so overwhelmed by what’s going on right now? Why does it feel like I get a handle on one thing, only to have another area of life spiral out of control?
Why can’t I handle this?
Maybe you have felt the same thing—maybe you encountered a hardship you were not prepared to face. Maybe the death of a family member has shaken your faith or an unexpected bill arrived while you were in financial straits. Maybe you are struggling in school or having a hard time at work. Maybe you are having a hard time with your kids, your family or your marriage. Maybe one or more of these weigh heavily on you and you can’t seem to get through it. In these moments, you may be tempted to condemn yourself for not being strong enough to “handle it” like a real Christian would.
Oh my sweet ladies, here’s the truth: the idea that the circumstances of life will never be “more than we can handle” is false. While the Bible does affirm that we will not be tempted beyond our ability and that God will always provide a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), Scripture doesn’t promise that circumstances will always be what we can “handle.” In fact, many times in the Bible (both in the Old and New Testaments) God’s people faced things they could not handle alone.
Here are some of many examples: Moses and the Israelites trapped at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:9-29); Gideon’s three hundred men facing the massive Midianite army (Judges 7); the widow who had no way to pay back her creditors (2 Kings 4:1-7); Elisha, God’s prophet, outnumbered and surrounded by Aram’s chariots (2 Kings 6:13-18); Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego facing the fiery furnace (Daniel 4:4-27); the disciples who faced the storm—twice (Matthew 8:23-26 and Matthew 14:22-32).
Jesus’s entire ministry was based on helping people who couldn’t “handle” it. Every miracle was to fill a need the people couldn’t fix: Jesus restoring lepers (Matthew 3:1-3 and Luke 7:11-19) and the blind (Mark 10:46-52 and John 9:1-11); Jesus driving out demons (Mark 5:2-15 and Luke 4:33-36); Jesus feeding hungry multitudes (Matthew 14:13-21 and Matthew 15:29-39) and Jesus raising people from the dead (Mark 5:35-42 and John 11:38-44).
Our very salvation from sin comes from the fact that we could not “handle” our own sinful nature. Jesus Christ—God incarnate—had to die for us, the powerless, dead ones, in order to rescue us and bring us to life (Romans 5:6-8; Ephesians 2:1-5).
Do you want to know the beautiful truth, ladies?
We can’t handle it—but God can. Right now, we are living in times that feel more than we can handle. With the current pandemic and societal panic, along with jobs forced to close and many things up in the air, things seem completely out of control. The truth is, things are outside of our control—but they are never out of our all loving, all wise Heavenly Father’s hands.
We are called to humble ourselves (admit we can’t save ourselves or fix it alone) and cast our anxieties on Him (tell God about them and trust that He will help His children). When we His children call out to Him in the circumstances we can’t deal with, He will answer. Ask Him to show up in the times you can’t handle. He may not show up in the way you want or expect, but trust that it is in the impossible circumstances that God shows up. He may calm the storm or He may provide the grace to get through the storm (2 Corinthians 12:6-10). Yet this we can know with certainty—if we have repented of our sins and now belong to Christ, He will work out all things, including the impossible things, for our good (Romans 8:28).
It will be okay. We can’t handle it—but that’s a good thing.
Because when we can’t handle it, God can and does.