More Than You Can Handle

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Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.  – Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

“God won’t give you any more than you can handle.”

You’ve heard that said many times, I’m sure—maybe even have said it yourself. The words are meant to comfort someone going through a difficult time.

But it isn’t true.

Gasp! What?

Doesn’t the Bible say God won’t allow a something to be more than we can stand? You may cite 1 Corinthians 10:13. But that verse says God won’t allow a temptation to be more than we can endure—temptation, not trial. There’s a difference.

Trials and tribulations are the hard times we go through, the times when we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Temptations are enticements to do wrong, to sin.

Trials, tribulations and temptations are all times of testing. Therein lies the confusion.

The Bible doesn’t tell us that God won’t give us any more hard times than we can endure. At times He does. Think about grief, loss, betrayal.

What does the Word tell us, then?

That troubles will come: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19). “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jesus, as quoted in John 16:33).

To “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

To pray about it. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15).

Jesus Himself invites us to come to Him with our heavy burdens and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).

Oh, I could go on and on and on, citing Scripture.

But did you notice something about every Scripture I did quote?

Read the second part: God cares, delivers, overcomes, guards, gives rest.

Relief, strength, and victory come from God alone. Not our striving. Not our wit and wisdom. Not our own ingenuity.

Much is said and written about self-help. About overcoming in our own strength. About pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. About independence. We pride ourselves on how we can overcome difficulty without anyone’s help.

But we were never meant to be independent of our Creator. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

When Joshua stepped into Moses’ sandals, he faced an overwhelming task: Lead the Israelites in battle to conquer the Promised Land.

Yikes! They faced crossing a river at flood stage, taking walled cities, and facing the giants of the land (the Anakim).

In short, it was a tall order—an impossible feat—without the help of El Shaddai.

And that’s what God wants us to realize as we face our Anakim, when we’re up to our necks in a flood-stage torrent, when we stare at a stubborn wall we can’t get through.

That with His help, we can do all things, but only through Him who gives us the wisdom, strength, and power to do so (Philippians 4:13).

He wants you to depend on Him.

Do you?

As I lift my eyes to the imposing and impossible mountain before me, remind me that my help comes from You. Help me to depend on You to overcome. Amen.

More tea: Read Joshua 1:1–9. The Psalms are excellent to read when facing the giants, especially Psalms 42 and 121.