There’s this mythical scripture than has been making its rounds in the Christian circle for some time now.
You know the one?
When you find yourself in the midst of a trial or battle you are more than likely going to have it quoted to you.
I’ve been guilty of using it myself when I’ve found a friend or loved one burdened down my pain and hurt in their life.
“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
It is a well-meaning phrase, and I’m not trying to come down on people who say it or make a big, dramatic deal out of something that isn’t, but that aside, there is something I need to admit – I’ve got beef with this phrase.
My problem is that we use it as if it were scripture, and it takes the focus off of God, and puts it on ourselves. We give ourselves way too much credit when we use these 10 words – credit that says no matter what, we can handle what we are going through, we are strong and we are capable of whatever comes our way. It says that we don’t need God in order to get through this situation, we just need to remember that He won’t ever make it THAT hard.
Here’s what I’ve found –
God DOES give us more than we can handle, because if we could handle any part of the drudges of this life on our own, then we would be crowned victorious, we would be praised champions, we would be labeled winners, and we would be recognized as independent, confident and proud of OUR accomplishments.
If we were capable, and if God gave us only what we could handle, then He would never receive any of the glory for getting us across the trek we make through the mire that life attempts to sink us into.
God gives us more than we can handle so that HE can handle it for us and so that we can be carried by Him through the dirtiest, messiest, and most ugly places we will ever be.
He gives us more than we can handle so that others can see His glory shine through and so that others can see His sovereignty in our lives.
But more than that, I believe He gives us more than we can handle so that we can sit down, tip our heads back, exhale, and come to the complete and full revelation that there is no way we could ever survive this mess of life without His faithfulness.
We are messy, we are imperfect, we are tattered and worn down, but we are sewn so tightly to the cloth of God’s heart that we will never be able to look back and say that every beat wasn’t because of the oxygen and blood-pumping life support of a Designer that takes every part of life laced with futility and turns it into a masterpiece of purpose.
I can’t handle any ounce of this seemingly purpose-less, soot-filled life on my own.
I can’t make sense of pain, death, or brokeness through my grey screen of tangible-only things.
In my mind, through my eyes, I have to touch in order to believe.
I have to see the end in order to make sense of the middle.
If life went my way it would be color-by-numbers, filled with order and straight forward logic, something that everyone could make sense of. But the thing is, coloring by numbers may make sense, it may turn out in a way that allows the picture to be obvious and understandable, but it will never turn into a masterpiece, it will leave you confined and limited. It will never incorporate the blending of colors, the freedom of technique, and the ability to paint without lines. If you take the lines and the numbers away and observe it might scare you to death. For a long time you won’t be able to make sense of where these woven colors are going. It will look chaotic, nonsensical, out-of-order, foolish, even. In the end, though, it will be a beautiful work of art, and you will look back and be able to understand where all those colors came into play, why all those brushstrokes were necessary, why all those tools were needed, why the Artist, in all His creativity and in all His ability to use every ounce of canvas and every mistake made, allowed certain mediums to be used, and certain colors to be blended with others, and certain parts to be simply painted over.
If God only gave me what I could handle than I would have a bunch of lines and numbers spread out infront of me, waiting as I go one-by-one painting them in with a color that I did not even pick out on my own. It may have order, and it may make logical sense, but no one would ever call it beautiful, no one would ever think it was realistic or spectacular or out of the ordinary. I would be confined to a certain place, held back by logic and God would receive no glory at all.
Praise God that He holds the brush, that He blends the colors and that He uses every bit of life that does not make sense to us and swirls it into a beautiful masterpiece that radiates His glory.
Remember, you are given more than you can handle so that HE can handle it for you, so that HE can carry you through, and so that you can see how faithful He truly is to use ALL THINGS for good.
“5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-2 Corinthians 12:5-10