MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE
1 Corinthians 10:13 (from several versions of the Bible)
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
NMB(New Matthew Bible)
“No trial has taken you but such as follows the nature of man. But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tried above your
strength, but will in the midst of the trial make a way to escape out.”
“God never gives you more than you can handle.” We’ve all heard that expression. Some believe it and claim that it comes straight out of the Bible. others simply do not believe it. The most familiar versions of the Bible clearly tell us that we are not tempted or tested beyond our means, however, some of the lesser-known versions of the Bible use the term “trial” rather than “temptation.” I had started this piece assuming (never do that) that the Bible did not go along with the popular expression “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Now I am not so sure.
When I was young, I felt totally overwhelmed by some experiences and I feared that my mind would crash and I would lose my mind. I catastrophized many things, therefore I often felt overwhelmed, not realizing that I could think differently about the situations. The changes in my perceptions over the years does not change what has happened to me in my lifetime, just how I think about them.
After years of life experience, the passing of my second husband in particular, I began to realize, most of the time, that many things are not life-and-death circumstances or experiences. With Jesus, the feeling of being overwhelmed is even less for me now.
If it is true that God never gives us anything we can’t handle, this does not mean that we, ourselves do not give ourselves more than we can handle, by the way we think about or perceive an experience. We need to consider that we tell ourselves things that might not be in our own best interest. We may say “I can’t handle this,” or “This is beyond me,” or “God isn’t protecting me. He didn’t protect so-and-so either,” and so forth. We did not get those ideas from the Bible; we got them from our upbringing, others we have been in contact with through the years, life events, our physical bodily experiences and conditions, the level of pain we experience at given times in our lives, what our culture dictates, what we’ve read, what we’ve seen on tv, what we’ve told ourselves since childhood, I mean, the list is probably inexhaustive.
I am the age I am, the size I am, with medical conditions that are not going away unless Jesus heals them. I cannot go back and redo my life. It is progressing whether I like it or not. Thank goodness, what I think today is quite different from what I thought when I was a little kid or I’d be totally, uselessly overwhelmed now. I’ve been influenced by way more than the Bible, to my detriment, however, when Jesus rescued me, He gave me new ways of thinking.
Jesus is dependable and the only reliable One we could go to whenever we feel overwhelmed. He will never tell us something that is inappropriate or unhelpful. We need to learn to discern what thinking is ours and what is Jesus communicating with us. Lots of prayer can help, plus actually reading the Bible. Rather than listening to ourselves or some of what others are telling us, we can ask Jesus for clarification. God always knows. He knows what all of us are talking about and thinking and He knows how to sort it all out. What we believe we cannot handle, He can and does. Then, perhaps, we can handle things we thought we couldn’t; things we might not have handled earlier in life, but can handle now. We can seek the wisdom from God that He has to impart to us.