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“Don’t worry Joy, God never gives us more than we can handle“.
Often times when I have been faced with a difficult task, decision, or situation I have to go through, I have had people with good intentions attempt to encourage me with these exact words.
Is this really true? Or is this just something we have all heard before and since it encouraged us, we repeat it to offer hope to anyone who seems to be facing some difficulty.
But, when you look at the Scripture reading from where this saying comes from, you have to put it into context and realize what in fact is being said and to whom it is being spoken to.
This is the verse from 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NABRE)
No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial, he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it
When looking at this scripture passage a couple of things jump out to guide us in a deep understanding of it.
These are the details we have to keep in mind if we are going to live believing that God never gives us more than we can handle.
Breaking it Down
First, the verse tells us that no trial has come to you but what is human. Everyone will have trials, it is just part of our life. Part of being human.
Even Jesus himself went through ‘human trials’ as he lived on the earth. This is simply clarifying that we are human, and as humans, we will have trials.
They are simply to be expected.
In the next section we are told that God is faithful. Do we really understand this?
God is faithful. So, he cannot be unfaithful. We are always assured that no matter what, he is with us, by our side.
When we think of a spouse that is faithful, someone who will never leave or forsake us comes to mind. That is exactly who God is.
He will always and forever be there for us as we walk through whatever our life situations bring us to.
Then we are told that we will not be tried beyond our strength.
Now, this is where it can become a little more unclear for some. What does that mean – not tried beyond our strength?
First, what is our strength? The Bible tells us that God is our refuge, our strength, and always there to help.
Psalms, 46:2 God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.
God is our strength.
Does this apply to everyone?
Yes, of course, but there is one thing we need to realize.
A person who does not have faith, acknowledge God in any way or invite Him into their life, cannot know or receive the strength that is promised here.
Yes, the promise is for them too, but they cannot truly grasp, realize, or use it in their struggle. It is an abstract thing they simply cannot understand.
Christians have a great privilege, they know and claim this truth and can openly receive the strength that they need when adversity comes there way.
But with the trial, God provides a way out of it.
This is the next part of this verse. It is simply telling us that no matter what you are going through you can count on God to provide a way, or path, out of your feeling of despair, uncertainty, or hopelessness.
The promise is not for the trial to be taken from you. What is promised is a way to go through it and, together with God, to work your way out of it.
So that you may be able to bear it…
No, he may not remove or prevent the trial, but God himself will provide the strength you need so that you are able to bear it.
With God’s strength, we are able to bear more than we ever could have imagined and then clearly see and find our way to the other side of the trial.
God Never Gives Us More Than We Can Handle
The hard truth is that, yes he does allow trials to come to us that we can not handle!
We face all types of trials. Little everyday ones like kids fighting, a co-worker annoying us, hurt feelings and so on.
There are also those bigger ones like deep betrayal, divorce, death, physical hurt, and circumstances of utter despair – things that we just cannot effectively or fruitfully handle on our own.
Many times during numerous situations, big ones such as the untimely death of my father, and a small one like the kids fighting way too much, I have come to the conclusion that I just cannot handle it.
But, God has promised a way through them all – big or small. A way that will not only bring us through it or over it but will transform and grow us in the life purpose he has offered each one of us.
Climb That Mountain
I like to look at it this way. Think of your trial as a large mountain before you.
The mountain is there and you have to ‘climb’ it. There is just no way around it.
A Christian will have to climb it. But, he will do it with all the equipment needed.
He will have access to all the clothing, supplies and a map of the best trail to follow.
The climb may be difficult at times, but we will be provided with supernatural strength & a rope of faith to climb it and find our ‘way out‘ provided by God himself.
Throughout the ascend and descend of this ‘trial’ mountain, we as Christians are improving and growing in our faith endurance for future mountains.
We will be strengthened in our mind, spirit, and body.
Plus we have the awesome privilege to give glory and praise to God. The one who provided the strength and the way out as he promised.
The Unbeliever’s Mountain
Here we are looking at the exact same high, difficult, and treacherous mountain or ‘trial’.
But instead of having the necessary equipment to make the climb, the mountain is approached without any rope of faith, provision, supplies, or map.
It is literally like approaching a treacherous mountain with flip flops on your feet and a small water bottle in your hand.
You may, by your own strength and effort make it to the top of the mountain. But, it will have been a fruitless effort with no physical or spiritual benefit of any kind.
The continual feeling of wanting to give up and useless defeat will follow you for the entire trip. You will dread every step and curse every setback.
There will be no hope, no promise of strength, or help. Yes, it is available, but for someone who doesn’t know or love God, the person doesn’t know how to receive the help they so desperately need.
So, they go it all alone with anguish in every step. It won’t be a triumph, it will be a nightmare they will relive over and over because they never found the true way out.
They will undoubtedly look at the mountain with contempt, bitterness, and as a source of pain, instead of a life-altering experience or accomplishment.
More Than We Can Handle
Just think back to a hard time. Or, maybe you are going through something this very moment. It can surely be something more than we can handle with our own strength.
The reason why we love to share this promise with others is to give someone a glimpse of hope for the particular trial they are going through.
But, remember – when Saint Paul was writing this, he was speaking to Christians, to those who already believed in Christ & had a relationship with him. They believed in his love for them, and in his Word.
If he had spoken this to the pagans (those who did not know or believe in the Truth), they could not have understood or would have been able to realize and claim the promise here.
They would never have been able to apply this promise or teachings of Paul to their lives.
What Does This Mean?
It means that yes – for those who believe and trust – God never gives us more than we can handle!
– He will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial, he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it…
We are all God’s children promised many things. When we are open to it and acknowledge Jesus as our Lord,
– we are not tried beyond what we can handle
-we are provided with a way out of our trials
-we are able to bear much
And we can successfully and triumphantly climb the highest mountains!
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
I Help Inspire Christian Women to Grow in Their Faith & Share with Others, Improve their Health, and Create Whole-Life-Wellness From the Inside Out.