Monday, September 19, 2011

God Will Not Give Us More Than We Can Bear

If I have heard this phrase once, I have heard it a hundred times over the past 3 years. Just the other night someone who I look up to spiritually said with great confidence "Scripure tells us that God won't put more on us than we can bear".
This phrase has been both puzzling and troubling to me over these past 3 years as I had 2 bouts with cancer and experienced spiritual warfare not only personally, but in our ministry. A week ago, I was helpless to the havok that radiation was unleashing on my body and I thought to myself...."This is definately MORE than I can bear!" But how can that be? Afterall, I have been told over and over again that God won't give me more than I can bear.
So, I went digging, and here's what I've found:
There is no scripture that tells us that God won't give us more than we can handle. There is no scripture that tells us that God won't allow more than we can bear. I've searched and I just can't find it. Now, if someone can give me book, chapter, and verse where it says this, then I will gladly recant this statement, but I am confidant that you will not.
What you WILL find is 1 Corinthians 10:13 which states
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.
This verse is referring to TEMPTATION. God does allow us to be tempted to sin, but He NEVER sets us up to fail...so that the ONLY option we have is to sin. God is loving and ALWAYS gives us an alternative to sin.
We misquote this verse and use it to apply to hardships, sickness, and all sorts of troubles...which seems harmless enough.
I can find comfort in telling YOU "God won't give you more than you can bear". When I tell you this, I reassure myself that you are okay. You may be freaking out, but you are just over reacting. Afterall, God won't give you more than you can bear. You can handle this problem on your own.
I assure you, after hearing this phrase at least a dozen times last week when I truly thought I was going to die if I got any sicker...this phrase is not as comforting when you are on the receiving end. In fact, it caused me a great deal of grief. I thought, "well, what is wrong with me then? I am fairly certain that this is way more than I can bear!"
Now that the side effects of radiation have gone their merry way and I am feeling more myself, the thought hits me....
If God did not give us more than we could handle, then what need would we have for Him? I mean, in day to day life, if I could take care of everything all on my own, then why would I need a relationship with Christ? Doesn't make sense, right? First of all, I most assuredly can NOT handle every day life on my own much less things like cancer and radiation. I cannot handle losing my voice ( I have not been able to talk for almost a month) and I cannot handle the possibility that my voice may not come back, that the cancer may come back, or that there is no absolute guarantee that all the cancer is even gone! So, logically, it doesn't really make sense that God would not give us more than we can bear...at least this is the case in my life.
In fact, LOGICALLY, the opposite is true...God WILL give us more than we can bear so that we will turn to Him, seek refuge and safety and comfort in Him. Logically, God WILL give us more than we can bear so that He can teach us to depend on Him and show us how powerful He is.
Still, logic is only logic if not backed by scriptiure. Sometimes there are truths in Scripture that we learn from reading about the people in the Bible and learning from their relationships with God. To determine if God actually allows/gives more than His children can bear, we have to look to His word.
It doesn't take long to see the fact that God does indeed put His children in positions where they NEED Him....because they cannot continue without Him....
Over and over in Scripture we see men and women who are given more than they can handle... David could not have defeated Goliath on His own, Regarding himself and his fellow workers in the gospel, Paul wrote, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5). The 23rd Psalm reads "Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for THOU ART WITH ME". and John 16:33 says that we will have troubles but to be of good cheer because GOD has overcome the world.
I'm not going to list any others. I am convinced and you can look for yourself. As a matter of fact, I think you SHOULD.
Over and Over again, God allows His children to be in situations where their ONLY hope is in Him.
Cancer was more than I could bear. God allowed it. Having cancer made me more reliant on HIM and dependent on Him and, on the other side of that valley, I trust Him even more than before.
So, I won't be telling folks "Well, you know God won't give you more than you can handle." anymore.
Instead, I will be telling them this.....
Scripture says that in this world we WILL have trouble. In my life, I have experienced things that I absolutely could not bear on my own. It was in THOSE times that I learned to lean on Christ, to trust my Heavenly Father, and to rest in the comfort that God can handle the things that I can't.
Hugs,
K