The common saying goes like this: “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
Paul says that’s just wrong. 2 Corinthians 1:8–9 (ESV) For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death…
Paul was power and mighty Apostle of Jesus Christ. The one the Holy Spirit inspired to write almost half of the New Testament. The Apostle that brought the Gospel to the utter reaches of the world said, “We were in a place that was BEYOND OUR STRENGTH.”
“Beyond our strength.” That sounds like more than he could handle. The thing about “Christian lingo” is that it often conflicts with scripture. It sounds good and helpful, it fits nicely on a bumper sticker… but it is not scripturally accurate and can do a lot of damage. Before you throw out that next “Christianese comfort phrase” to someone in a deep dark struggle, ask yourself, “Is this accurate according to the Words we are called to live on?” (Matthew 4:4).
Here’s the reality. Life gives us more than we can handle. Some of us would never have darkened the doors of church if we weren’t given more than we can handle. And even after coming to Christ, God allows us to be given times beyond our strength. For instance, we all have to die. Death is more than anyone can handle. But thanks be to God, Jesus Christ handled death for us!
God will put us through more than we can handle for one very simple reason… to stop us from trusting ourselves and to start fully trusting in God. This is what Paul means in the rest of Verse 9: “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
- That sin that keeps defeating you is an opportunity to stop trusting yourself and start trusting Christ for total deliverance.
- That tense relationship that threatens you is an opportunity to seek God completely for what needs to dramatically change in your heart and/or theirs.
- The loss of a loved one, a financial meltdown, the job loss, the unexpected desertion of friends – all are an opportunity to stop relying on our strength and learn the power of His!
God will give us more than we can handle… SO THAT WE CAN LEARN just how powerful HE can be in our lives. If the powerful Apostle Paul had to learn this – so do we! And for that, we can be thankful.