Summary: Part 8 of 10 in a series dedicated to debunking commonly held myths that we think are in the Bible but really aren't, myths that can and often do have devastating effects on our faith.
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever had a bad day? All of us have! Have you ever had that bad day turn into a bad week? Many of us have! Have you ever had that bad week turn into a bad month? Some of us have? Have you ever had that bad month turn into a bad year? A few of us have! Do you see where we’re headed here? An honest assessment of life shows us that there are times that life as we know it reaches a point where we’re so beat down and discouraged that we don’t know what direction to go!
BACKGROUND: Now when times get tough our friends and family come along side and try to comfort and encourage us, and inevitably some person will utter the infamous words “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Though their meant to be encouraging, more often than not what is heard are not words of encouragement but something along the lines of… “Cowboy Up, you Wimp”
Now it’s easy to spout trite Christianesk platitudes of bumper-sticker based theology that are designed to make people feel better, but such things do very little good in face of the actual brokenness of our world. In fact when people buy into them it creates a whole host of spiritual landmines that can do intense damage to our spiritual lives…
WHERE DID WE GET THIS CRAZY IDEA?
• The idea that God won’t give us more than we can handle, though not original with her, is most often attributed to that great humanitarian and Catholic nun; Mother Teresa of Calcutta
• “I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much”
• This sound believable, it sounds like the actions of an “all-knowing,” and more importantly “all-loving” God, and on those really hard days, we eagerly embrace it
• So we buy the line, and then scour the pages of Scripture, looking for proof that this is indeed the way God works… then we breathe a sigh of relief when we find it! (1st Corinthians 10:13)
• The only problem is that this verse isn’t about what we think it’s about, and it doesn’t say what we think it says!
• Now while this verse is one of the most helpful verses in the whole Bible for those who wish to confront temptation… did we get that Paul is talking about “temptation” not “suffering”
• In this passage Paul is encouraging those Christians who are being tempted to return to an “idolatrous” lifestyle – and that God provides a way of resisting those temptations (Acrocorinth)
• Often when we read the text… “provide a way of escape, that we may endure” what we hear is… “when we’re suffering, God won’t let us suffer more than we can handle”
GOD GIVES US MORE THAT WE CAN HANDLE!
• If you don’t think that God will give you more than you can handle, just tell that to a “survivor of Auschwitz,” a “husband who just lost his wife in an accident,” the “girl who was just robbed of her innocence,” the person who is “crushed under the weight of depression and anxiety”
• A point of clarification… to say that God “gives” us more than we can handle, means that He “allows” us to face more than we can handle!
• As much as we’d like to believe that God won’t give us more than we can handle, it’s actually critical for our spiritual life that we learn the exact opposite!
• All throughout Scripture people were handed impossible tasks
• Moses freeing thousands of Israelites, David slaying a giant, Joseph sold into slavery and becoming the most powerful man in Egypt, Daniel in the lion's den, Mary becoming a pregnant virgin, etc.
• Do you think any of these "heroes" of the Bible were in the middle of such extremely stressful circumstances and thought, "Well, God won't give me more than I handle, so I'll just keep hanging on"? We wouldn’t have much of a Bible if God was in the habit of only giving what we can handle!
• No, they relied on God to get them through, and in the process showed that a possible God is in charge of impossible situations. (Philippians 4:13) i.e. all things God wants and blesses!
• In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth he writes these words (2nd Corinthians 1:8-10)
• If God is only giving us what we can handle, then we’ll never be dependent on Him for anything
• If God is only giving us what we can handle, then we’ll never step outside our comfort zone
• If God is only giving us what we can handle, then we’ll never grow spiritually