Jordan Ministries
Embracing God's Promise of Abundance When Hardship Endures
Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?
by Jenny on February 14th, 2017

"We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it." 2 Corinthians 1:8

You've seen the headlines. You've read the stories in the news feed on your Facebook page. Events so tragic, illnesses so devastating you wonder how people endure such seasons of difficulty.

During times of trouble well-meaning friends offer prayer, Scripture and words of encouragement. While Scripture always, always holds true (Proverbs 30:5), words of the flesh can fail. Phrases that we think sound encouraging can actually leave a person feeling as if they've been wounded again.

Consider for example the cliche, "God will never give you more than you can handle."

People mean well when they share those words with others but . . . is it true?

A Google search with the aforementioned phrase returns quotations from famous theologians ranging from Mother Teresa to Kelly Clarkson (wink!). You'll find many contradicting articles on the subject, which tells me that this question resonates with people. But one thing you won't find is an actual Scripture reference. In fact, I believe a search through Scripture reveals just the opposite. I believe God does allow us to experience more than we can handle . . . how else would we learn to depend upon Him?

The apostle Paul described one such experience. In his second letter to the Corinthian church Paul writes, "We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,b about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it." (2 Corinthians 1:8)

Ever felt CRUSHED or OVERWHELMED BEYOND YOUR ABILITY TO ENDURE? I have. And being just a few weeks away from delivering Baby #6, I'm preparing to enter such a season. It's why I'm so familiar with this particular verse at the moment. Paul experienced trials much more difficult than a few months of sleepless nights. Paul experienced situations that caused him to doubt whether he would survive. I think Paul would tell you that God allowed him to experience more than he thought he could handle. But look at the result:

In 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 Paul writes, "But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us."

As a result of experiencing more than he could handle in his own strength Paul learned to depend on God. I think that's probably what we intend to communicate when we tell others that God won't give them more than they can handle. However, I think a better statement might be, "God will never give you more than you can handle . . . through the strength, wisdom, and comfort He promises to provide."

We CAN endure all things . . . but only through Christ (Philippians 4:13).

God HAS promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) . . . but we must allow Him to work in us and through us (John 15:5).

God HAS promised that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure, that He will show us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) . . . but we must choose to follow His way.

Does God allow us to endure more than we can handle? I believe the answer is--YES! But as Paul, James and myself, as well as many others can attest, "When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." (James 1:2-3)

Feel crushed and overwhelmed by your circumstances? Don't try to handle it on your own. Come to Jesus, all you who are weary and burdened, and He will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

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Crossing Your Jordan

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, Bible-teaching mom of six, and wife to my college sweetheart. I believe everyone can live a life of abundance through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and radical obedience to His Word.

Do you have a relationship with God through Christ? If not, I would consider it pure joy to tell you about God, why you need Him, and how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.

If you know Christ as your Savior, do you know how to follow Him as Lord? If, like me, life's challenges have caused you to question whether you truly want to follow God's plan for you, or you simply don't know how to recognize God's ways due to a lack of biblical literacy, I would love to teach you what I've come to know about God through His Word.

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