We’ve all heard the phrase “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” People use it to encourage someone during a difficult time and to spur them on to fight through the current struggle. I understand the sentiment. I really do. However, I believe it is 100% incorrect without two critical words. “Through Christ.”
This “hear me roar” culture is inundated with the messages of “You got this,” “We are brave,” “We are bold,” “We are over-comers,” and anything “#_____Strong.” The narrative of this modern, self-focused world has entered the Body of Christ as well, but that will be a different article someday. For now, let’s at least identify the message, its purpose and its effects.
The message clearly states that God is the arbiter of the difficulty of our situation. That is correct because He is sovereign. One of many examples in the Bible is the story of Job. God limited the satanic attack on Job and his family (Job 1:12). The message also indicates that WE have the strength to endure the circumstance. While God may control the extent of the trial, the power to overcome is within us. God knows our personal strength and will always be sure to limit the struggle to that which our human strength can handle. Hmm.
The purpose can be broken into two parts. Human purpose and Satanic purpose. The human purpose is meant to “empower” (another wildly overused phrase) people to take charge of the situation at hand and to triumph over it. It is meant to imply that we are strong enough to overcome the struggles of life or at least to have the strength to endure the struggles. Again, I understand the sentiment and desire to encourage others. People are trying to be a cheerleader for the struggling person. I get it.
The other purpose, that of Satan’s, is an entirely different one. Since we know that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), we need to be extremely cautious of phrases that are circulating the globe. Satan has no truth in him. He is a murderer, a liar and the FATHER of lies (John 8: 44). His very nature is deceit. So when a phrase becomes popular in the world (even if it sounds good or “Christian”), we need to properly vet the phrase. If the ruler of this world is a lying murderer who has no truth in him, it is irresponsible to parrot cultural catch-phrases without doing due diligence to identify the truthfulness of the phrase.
Satan wants people to believe that they are fully capable of handling the affairs and trials of life without God. After all, if man is able to overcome every adversity on his own, there is no need for God. All-powerful man is enough. If man thinks he is enough, he will not recognize his own weakness and desperate need for God’s salvation and strength that comes…”through Christ.”
Those two words change everything. We are utterly incapable of being a truly brave, bold, strong, empowered over-comer (did I get them all?) on our own. It is through Christ and Christ alone that we find strength and courage to endure this broken and wicked world. It is through Christ that we can face tribulation without fear. Why? Because Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33)!
The truth is…we are given much more than we can handle on our own. But, we can face MORE than we can humanly handle…through Christ.