Part 2 of 4 – God Never Said That… Series
This lesson was adapted from LifeChurch.tv and PursueGod.org.
God promises that you can handle it, right? No, God never said that.
God often gives us more than we can handle.
It’s not hard to feel overwhelmed in life. The loss of your job, a scary diagnosis from the doctor, conflict in your relationships, or problems with your kids are just some of the difficulties that happen in life that can leave you with more than you can handle.
So, where did this idea that God will never give us more than we can handle come from? It mainly comes from a misinterpretation of a verse in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 10:13 He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
The Bible says that God will never give you more temptation than you can stand. God will give you a way out of temptation. But the Bible never says, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
If you have ever felt overwhelmed with life, at least you are in good company. In the Bible, people like Gideon, Moses, Esther, and David all felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the task that God had given them. Actually, Jesus was overwhelmed too.
Mark 14:33-34 (Jesus) became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death…”
Our own experiences in life and the examples of people from the Bible all teach us that God gives us more than we can handle. Why does He do this?
We learn to depend on God’s presence.
When life is good, it is easy to forget about God. When you have everything you need, you’re healthy, and your family is getting along, God is kind of an afterthought. In the midst of distress, however, we crave God’s presence.
Jonah 2:2, 7 I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me…As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.
It was not until Jonah was under great distress that he finally turned to God. It is in difficult times that we become most aware of our need for God. And, thankfully, we can find God in the midst of our struggles. Don’t think that a storm in your life means that God has abandoned you. In fact, we often find more of God’s presence in our lives when we face a storm.
Psalm 145:18 The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
Every difficulty in your life is an opportunity for you to call out to God and experience His presence.
We get to experience God’s power in our lives.
As humans, we naturally try and solve our problems with our own strength and abilities. If you believe that God will never give you more than you can handle, then when crisis comes you will try and lean on your own strength. This is not what God wants for you. God gives us more than we can handle so that we will learn to trust in His power.
The apostle Paul battled what he called a thorn in the flesh. We don’t know exactly what this was, but it made his life and ministry challenging. At three different times, he asked God to remove this debilitating condition.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul was happy when he suffered because it allowed him to experience God’s power in his life. The truth is that we will grow closer to God in our times of suffering and pain, than in the times of ease and comfort. Those moments of crisis and struggle are moments when we can experience God’s power to sustain us.
God will give us more than we can handle. Count on it. But He does this so that we will know Him better and more deeply rely on His power.
Let’s Talk About It…
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- On a scale of 1-10, how good are you at multitasking? Give some examples.
- What is the worst spiritual advice you have ever gotten? How did you know it was wrong?
- What is your typical response when you feel overwhelmed in life? (For example, work even harder, become more irritable, go somewhere quiet, ask for help, etc).
- Read Psalm 145:13-18. How have you experienced God’s presence when you were going through more than you could handle?
- What habits can you create in order to make God’s presence the first place you go when you’re overwhelmed?
- Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. What specific weakness in your life do you need to accept in order to experience God’s power?
- According to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, why should you view your difficulties and hardships as a blessing?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.