There’s this rumor that God won’t give us more than we can handle.
We use the line as a comfort when our friends encounter hard times. We console ourselves with it when life becomes overwhelming. But the scary thing about this rumor is that it’s quite simply untrue.
If you’ve followed my story the last five years, you know the story of what we’ve walked through.
- Unexpected switch to a home birth at 37 weeks with Adeline
- Moving to a new state 5 days before she was born
- Moving to Michigan a year after we moved to Pennsylvania
- Josh losing his job the day after we signed on our new home, while I was 7 months pregnant with Eva
- Getting to the bottom of our bank account before Josh found employment
- My long term battle with autoimmune disease
- Breaking my leg and going into surgery with a toddler and preschooler
- Josh resigning his job during my third pregnancy due to a toxic work environment
Now, I’m not a “seat of the pants” kind of person. I schedule my life two weeks at a time. I plan my meals down to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I clean the house every evening so it looks nice for the next day. Uncertainty is not my friend.
But uncertainty is what God has given me. I think back to Adeline’s birth: 6 weeks prior I was calling birth centers, being told by one after another that I was too late in pregnancy to be accepted. Five weeks prior we were down to the wire to find housing. Four weeks prior I was packing boxes with swollen feet, trying to finish my full-time job before going on maternity leave. And almost two weeks early I went into labor and gave birth to little Adeline Sophia at home.
God gave me way more than I could handle. He tested every part of my personality and preference, and in doing so brought me to the deepest level of trust I had ever known.
God gives us more than we can handle because what we can’t handle drives us to dependence on Him.
Why would God want us dependent on Him? Isn’t that like an overbearing father trying to control every choice his children make? Actually, no. Leaning on God through uncertainty requires relationship. From the very beginning of time, relationship is all God has ever asked of us. Every standard He sets, every commandment He gives, is designed to draw us into holiness so we can freely commune with His holy Self.
So when God permits us difficulty, He calls us into dependence on Him. It may bring us to our knees. He draws us to the point of choice: a choice between the Rock and a hard place. We can choose to lean fully into Christ, believing what He promised – or we can take the harder road alone.
God uses the hard things to make us slow down and choose trust. He uses our weaknesses and our besetting sins. He calls us through difficult people and situations. He reaches us through joblessness, through health struggles, through stress and break ups and everything the world pitches over our plate. And in those situations we have a choice: fully trust the One who saved us, or attempt to handle it on our own.
And trust, dear friends – it’s not a one-time decision. It’s daily, hour-by-hour, saying, “I choose to believe my God, not my fears.” It’s rejecting the Enemy’s lie that God doesn’t care or that we’ll be overwhelmed and standing on the truth that we – the children of God – are overcomers because our Christ has overcome.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say God won’t give us more than we can handle. Throughout the Old and New Testaments we see fellow saints facing the exact opposite: Abraham, commanded to kill his only son; Elijah, running from a wicked queen set on taking his life; Ezekiel, preaching to a people who didn’t believe; Paul, shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, and martyred; and Jesus, facing a cross He didn’t deserve. It was more than they could manage… until the Spirit of God enabled them to accomplish what God called them to do.
During my pregnancy with Addie I attended a natural birthing seminar led by Christian women. One of the women said something I will never forget: “There are many secular people who say birth is a spiritual experience – Buddhists, yogis, and the like. But we as Christians serve the Living God. We have all the power of the Holy Spirit available to us in the labor room. But many Christian women fail to see birth as a spiritual experience and thus never ask the Holy Spirit to equip them for what they have to do. You have Christ, and that is the greatest power in the entire world.”
You have Christ.
The knowledge that God was present in my difficulty buoyed me through my labor, but even more, it equipped me for every other part of our journey since then. Things were uncertain. They were scary. But I have peace because I have Christ.
God will give you more than you can handle. The good news is He is right there with you. He has promised never to leave (Matthew 28:20). Our hope rests in the Living God, and our hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:5).
“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:1-3)