Summary: People who are going through difficult times are often told by others not to worry because, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” The words are said with the best of intentions but unfortunately no such promise exists in the Bible.
A. I first introduced you to Saeed Abedini several months ago – many heard name on news
1. American citizen –Iranian descent – pastor – has been in Iranian prison since 2012
2. His crime – preaching about Jesus – for that -8 years –worst prisons in world
3. This past spring – he was beaten so badly – taken to hospital – nursed back to health
4. So he could be beaten some more – No sign of release, nothing from our govt –no hope
B. His wife, Naghmeh –travels, speaks –encourages others with their story
1. But this past spring, ““This news is devastating to our family. This development also came as a complete shock to all of us. Saeed’s family, who was present at the hospital when this occurred, witnessed the severe beatings that Saeed received – at one point seeing him collapse before being taken away. We’re very concerned about his health.”
2. Reality at this point – with the beating, torture he has experienced –toll on his health…
3. Even if he were released today – not the same man –never will be
4. He has been broken-crushed- all in the name of Christ
C. It is not uncommon when we are going through a difficult time for us to confess –can’t take it
1. Others to encourage, “God will not give you more than you can handle.”
2. I look at stories like Saeed and I think, “Really?” How much more can he handle? Wife?
3. I look at the 2000 year history of Christianity –stained with the blood of martyrs – really?
4. Our own lives, our own trials – times when feel like we can’t hold on –God piled on us
5. Wonder –how much more can we take? How much more does God think I can take?
D. Warn you – there’s nothing “feel good” about this message today – but want it to be honest
1. Last thing I ever want to do is make hollow promises that the word of God –not support
2. Never want to make you feel like a failure –something wrong with you –can’t hold on
3. Truth is –Bible never says God will not give you more than you can handle
4. Jesus said –in this world you will have trouble, promised beatings, humiliations, rejection
5. Families torn apart – None of that says, “God will not give you more than you can handle”
6. Tells me is God loves you – and he wants you to love him more than your own comfort
E. We get this idea “God will not give you more than you can handle” – passage in 1 Corinthians
1. 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
2. Be clear –passage is about sin and temptation – from idolatry to adultery-in between
3. Does not speak of suffering –pain –sickness –torture- despair of life
4. To turn it into a promise God never made –wrong –harmful for those looking for hope
5. And completely ignores the reality of what Christ calls us to – may include suffering
6. It ignores what we learn from those who endured – like the Saeed - or Apostle Paul
7. TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 1:8-11
Trans: I read those words and I see no promise of an easy life, a light burden, or the comforts of this world. Instead I see this call from the Apostle Paul, in the midst of his despair, to:
I. RELY ON THE ONE WHO IS CRUSHING YOU
A. Ever considered just how much stress a phrase like, “God will not….” Puts on a person?
1. When down and out –discouraged –nearing the end of our rope – doesn’t give hope…
2. Feel like we’re not measuring up – “If I’m supposed to handle this, why can’t I?”
3. I know we mean them as encouragement –but those words can be very discouraging
4. Cause us to build a wall – if I can handle this –why do I need God? Why need anyone else?
B. Look at Paul’s honesty about his pain – verse 8 – Despaired of life – saw no way out
1. Consider –Philippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”
2. He wanted to know Christ –no matter the cost –even if didn’t know the way out
3. Verse 9 – Paul’s pain/despair felt like a death sentence – some of you have been there