They say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
They are wrong.
The illness may be terminal, the divorce may be final, the loss may be permanent.
Paul was beheaded, Peter was crucified—indeed, “more than they can handle.”
The Bible teaches that God won’t allow more temptation than we can handle. This misunderstood and misquoted concept has its roots in this verse—
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. 1 Corinthians 10:13
It’s not the situation or circumstances that are “more than we can handle”—it’s the way we’re tempted to respond to the temptation that gets us every time. The same word for temptation is translated as trials in 1 Peter 1:6—
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 1 Peter 1:6
In the midst of our sadness, Peter suggests that the appropriate response is true gladness. Instead, trials get me feeling all—
—worn out, and tempted to respond with impatience or rudeness.
—scared, and tempted to respond with aggression or defensiveness.
—isolated, and tempted to respond with despair or anxiety.
—worried, and tempted to respond with doubt or manipulation.
—threatened, and tempted to respond with retaliation or meanness.
—confused, and tempted to respond with distrust or cynicism.
—insecure, and and tempted to respond with greed.
Each of us will walk through a wilderness that is barren, lonely, and desolate. You may react poorly (I know I have). You can respond with your gut instinct (which, let’s face it, is not pretty). Or, you can pause, reflect, pray, seek counsel, and react in a God-honoring, God-glorifying way.
See, God is less concerned about our circumstances than He is about our reaction to those circumstances. What kind of people are we going to be when life is good? Bad? Hard? Scary?
Even when it’s difficult to be glad, God doesn’t provide an escape from our circumstances. He has asked us (and equipped us!) to handle our response to the suffering and uncertainty we all experience.
You live a glory story when you walk worthy.
The only thing “God won’t give us more than we can handle” is our reactions and our response to unbearable suffering. The way we as Christians conduct ourselves and manage our responses in uncertain times is an important testimony about the light and a powerful weapon against the darkness.