I’ve begun a new preaching series called The Bible Doesn’t Say That. There are many things people think are in the Bible, but they aren’t. One of the biggest offenders is this statement: “God won’t put more on you than you can handle.”
It’s not in the Bible, but this one is based on a scripture that sounds a lot like it. Read 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. It’s been misquoted often over the years. Notice it does not say God won’t give you more than you can bear. It speaks specifically about temptation, and how every time you are tempted there is a way out. It does not speak to circumstances in your life and how hard life might get.
The Bible never promises that God won’t put more on your shoulders than you can stand. In fact, it says the opposite – there ARE times when life can become too much. Have you ever been through such times? I sure have.
Take a look at 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. We tend to think of the Apostle Paul as one of the mightiest Christians to ever live and what does he say about this? The apostles ran into trouble in Asia and were so utterly burdened beyond what they could bear, they despaired of life itself! I can relate, can’t you? Just because we end up surviving something does not mean it won’t take its toll. Sometimes life can pile on you and pile on you until you say, “I’ve had it with life! I’m done!” The prophet Elijah reached that point when he threw himself down under a tree and begged God to take his life. It is possible to become completely overwhelmed.
Paul says it felt like a death sentence, times got so hard. But brethren, this is the wonder of it all, the beauty of it. This is why I can’t stand the phrase “God won’t put more on you than you can bear.” It takes the punch and power out of the next statement. Read with me and see why it’s important to know that sometimes life WILL be too much.
Verse 9 says that in their hour of need, the apostles turned to God who raises the dead instead of relying on themselves. When life puts too much on you, and you feel like you’ve been sentenced to die, that’s when you turn in your weakness and cry out for the strength of Almighty God. Horrible circumstances should send us running to the Lord who raises the dead, because if he can raise the dead, and even death is not an obstacle for him, then we truly have nothing to fear.
What an amazingly triumphant and beautiful concept: God has the might to see us through any situation, even when we are so overwhelmed we might despair of life itself. You need the resurrection power of Jesus to set you straight and get you through.
Sometimes God will watch you struggle for a bit. He doesn’t deliver us on our time, on our demand. He uses struggles to teach us things, and lots of times, struggles stay around until we learn the lesson.
I’m reminded here of the disciples out in their boat, trying to cross the sea, and a storm comes up. The Scriptures tell us Jesus saw them straining at the oars, barely beating the storm, so close to sinking and going under. Brethren, if you are feeling overwhelmed right now, Jesus sees you straining! He sees how you are bending the oars against the storm. He knows your struggle! And here’s the beautiful part: after seeing them strain, it says Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.
What an emblem of the strength of God! With us, it’s impossible. For the complete column visit our free web site at www.firesideguard.com
With him, you can stroll on the waves themselves! So I never tell anyone, “God won’t put more on you than you can handle.” Not only is it unbiblical and simply not true, but it also takes away the power that comes when you finally get so overwhelmed you can’t go on, then God steps in with the power to overcome death itself. The Christian life is about total, complete, reliance on God, not a cheap promise that life will never get too hard. Life is almost always incredibly hard!
Verse 10 tells us where Paul got his confidence in Jesus. “He delivered us.” Paul and company relied on God in their hour of darkness, in their time of need, and God saw them through. “He delivered us, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
Our hope for the future and all its many struggles? Just Jesus, our Deliverer, who has delivered us again and again.