God Will Probably Give You More Than You Can Handle.

They say “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

And not only do I think this is untrue, but I think it can be incredibly damaging. Very often God DOES give you more than you can handle. Telling someone that He won’t, will only cause them to feel inadequate or confused since they wonder why everyone is shouting out encouraging platitudes from a boat while they are drowning in the ocean: “Don’t worry! At least you can handle it!”

So… what if you can’t?

Oh you can’t handle it? Well, God certainly wouldn’t allow that so the problem must be that you aren’t faithful enough, not strong enough, not virtuous enough… etc. etc. etc.

What is left for an overwhelmed person to feel but utter discouragement?!

There is so much I have yet to learn. Each day I feel like I know less and less. Today the stars hide in the night sky. The wind chills to the bone. The very ground beneath me is uncertain. I have been given more than I can handle. Far more. On so many levels. And I rather resent hearing “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” because so very many of my days prove otherwise. What then, is my conclusion?! That God is a cruel and overbearing taskmaster throwing wrenches left and right at me just for fun?! That I’m not ‘good enough’ or ‘strong enough’ or ‘holy enough’ to handle it? None of these is a satisfactory answer. I know my power is in my weakness. My freedom is in my littleness. And my peace is in my surrender.

The only satisfactory answer left is that sometimes God DOES allow far more than you can handle!

But this is okay. We aren’t asked to ‘handle it.’ We are asked to be faithful. Plans might crumble. Hopes might be dashed to the ground. People might fail you. You might get sick. Life may be hard. And suffering may pitch a rather sturdy tent in your soul for a while…

Let it be done unto me.

Let it be done unto us. He never asked us to be strong enough. To carry the cross, perfectly, without faltering. He asked us to be faithful, even when—especially when— He gives us more than we can handle. His grace is sufficient.

“Jesus offers you the cross, a very heavy cross, and you are afraid of not being able to carry it without giving way. Why? Our Beloved Himself fell three times on the way to Calvary, and why should we not imitate Him?”

—St. Thérèse of Lisieux


2 thoughts on “God Will Probably Give You More Than You Can Handle.

  1. Aphrahat

    Thank you for this. Not only for the authenticity, but for ‘bleeding’ in a manner that is pleasing to read.

    You wrote: “Let it be done unto us. He never asked us to be strong enough. To carry the cross, perfectly, without faltering. He asked us to be faithful, even when—especially when— He gives us more than we can handle. His grace is sufficient.”

    So true.

    It is similar to something I started saying years ago when teaching bible studies or classes and discussed sharing the faith: “God doesn’t ask for our success; He asks for our faithfulness. Our faithfulness IS our success.”

    That singular phrase has been with me a long time. It has humbled me. And it has also provided the energy I needed to stand back up or stand my ground, often alone. It has manifested in many ways as I’ve loved and failed love; burned with conviction and reversed course; aged enough to have my ideology meet experience and reality; lived and learned. He asks for our faithfulness, not our success.

    As you said, “let it be done”. We don’t need the success, but faithfulness to the will of God. As you also said, “He never asks us to be strong enough”. Even He has help carrying His cross!

    This world provides all of us experiences of pain and suffering. None of us escape it. For many, a time of their life, if not more than a mere ‘time’, will be heartwrenchingly insufferable.

    It is what it is.

    And we can’t carry it. Yet, we must.

    But, my suffering in life has taught me the greatest lesson in life: that there is a God who wishes to carry it with me. Who wants to cry with me. Who provided a Path through which my suffering could have meaning and even be redeeming. Would I know what I know without my experiences–without my suffering?

    Probably not.

    It is ok to be incapable of handling what God is allowing in our lives. He is provident. And while He will provide what we can’t handle without Him and His grace, He will permit it–and permit it for a reason. We have a High Priest who knows what it is to be both God and man. He knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it is to be incapable of carrying a cross. He knows what it means to beg His father to prevent the cup of suffering from coming to Him–to cry and sweat blood. And to cry out from that very same cross, ‘my God, my God why have you forsaken me’. But all as a Son and all all without sin.

    God is in love with you, Ellie. So much of the beauty that is within you and you are capable of comes forth in the raw experiences of your life already–even if it is painful, there are things which bloom! Feel the feels and cry out from the cross and sweat blood if you must.

    Do it.

    Let God be provident. And, with Him, carry the cross. It is through it, not around it, that your Happiness lies. This is our Faith.


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