Never More Than You Can Handle: A Debunking
“The Lord will never give you more than you can handle”. This phrase has practically risen to scripture-status.
I have never found comfort in it.
Its origin is earnestness and hopefulness; but possibly, also, ignorance and denial.
The young, pre-suffering me used this saying to rationalize and categorize suffering away from me, because I surely couldn’t handle it. And it compelled me to take it a step further—I judged people who were suffering, but weren’t handling it well.
Fast forward a decade or two, when hardships came. To the me who was now suffering, this saying meant “I should be handling my suffering”. If I’m not handling it I’m failing.
Fast forward another decade, post-crisis. Now, “The Lord will never give you more than you can handle” sounds like a terrible thing to say to anyone, but I appreciate the good intentions.
Isn’t the Gospel message about God handling it?
May I make a suggestion? How about instead, believing that God will never allow anything to happen that He can’t fully restore. He’ll never give me more that HE can handle.
I know we know this, but life and culture have a way of dissuading our focus; and instead of hoping on God in our hardships, we easily promote hoping in ourselves handling it.
How about instead, banking on the hope that God will never let anyone go farther than where He can’t reach them?
Consider re-phrasing that unfounded but beloved proverb above, to: God will not allow even the smallest thing to happen, which He hasn’t intimately foreknown, and consequently provided a way for redemption. And not just back to “how it was” redemption, but to ultimate, better than new, honorable and deeply loved status.
If even our Wounded Healer didn’t “handle” his own resurrection, neither should we put on that aspiration or criteria for coming out the other side.
Do you know someone who is suffering? Believe instead these things about God for this person. Hope in this about God for the person, more so than the wounded’s (or perhaps your own?) proper handling of things.
“Preach the Gospel. When necessary, use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi.