Thursday, February 23, 2012

More than I can handle

Again, I'm compelled to begin by saying thank you for your prayers.  We have again been flooded with words of comfort from all over the world. Oh, and West Virginia has reported in several times, so for those keeping score at home, we're 50/50 on US states and we may have to get more granular. Let's see, there are 3,143 counties in the United States, so...

Back to the aforementioned words of comfort. One particular sentiment has made its way to my inbox over a hundred times, and while I don't want to be combative, I think perhaps a correction is in order. Here's what quite a lot of you have said:

"God will not give you more than what you can handle."

The above is a common way of paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 10:13, which actually reads as follows: "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

One thing that Christians (myself included) are occasionally guilty of is failing to read the context of a verse, then choosing to misinterpret said verse in a way that we prefer.  I suspect that many times we don't even know we're doing it... we're just overly anxious to find some biblical evidence to support a genuinely well-intended thought. If you were to read the twelve verses before 1 Corinthians 10:13, you'd realize quickly that the entire passage is a series of warnings about the penalties of sin, culminating with verse 13, where Paul caps off the warnings by basically saying (and now I'm the one who's paraphrasing), "...And don't go saying that you had to sin due to some unbearable temptation. Your temptations are nothing new. Plus, God won't ever let you be put in a situation where your only option is to sin."

Now don't get me wrong... I appreciate the sentiment. I like the idea of not ever having to face more pain/suffering/sorrow/etc than I can tolerate. The problem is that I'm quite certain that I'm already over my limit. This is already too much. Maybe that's one of the lessons I'm supposed to be learning in all of this. Perhaps the point is to realize that I truly can't handle this... without God.

Actually, that sounds pretty good, and it lines up way better with my recent experiences. Instead of "God will not give you more than what you can handle", let's say "God will never leave you, even when the world has given you more than you can handle". I bet I can even find a verse to support that thought.


  1. That is very true BJ. God DOES give us more than we can handle, but that is when He carries us through it. When I tell Ryan "I can't do this anymore," he always reminds me that I can't, but God CAN.

  2. Very well put! We all have more than we can handle....some INFINITELY more. And God never promises that there won't be difficult, painful, or even excruciating circumstances. We are guaranteed that there will be plenty this side of Heaven. But I so admire your faith and perspective, BJ. In the tough times to come, I will be praying that you are drenched in God's love and mercy!!